Local Chambers of Commerce Across Michigan Endorse Fair and Equal Michigan

LGBTQ rights campaign secures endorsements from Bay Area Chamber, Flint & Genesee Group, Jackson Chamber, Lansing Regional Chamber, Midland Business Alliance, Saginaw Chamber, Traverse Connect 
 
The business organizations join Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Regional Chamber, Southwest Michigan First in their support
LANSING -- Fair and Equal Michigan, the campaign to pass Michigan’s first LGBTQ equal rights law through a citizen initiative, received key endorsements today from the Bay Area Chamber, Flint and Genesee Group, Jackson Chamber and Experience Jackson, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Midland Business Alliance, Saginaw County Chamber, and Traverse Connect. The prominent business and economic development organizations announced support for the proposed amendment to the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in employment, housing, public accommodation, public services, and education.
 
““We’re focused on creating a place where people thrive, and businesses invest and grow, without discriminatory barriers," said Tim Herman, CEO of Flint and Genesee Group, which includes the Flint & Genesee Chamber and Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance divisions. "We are pleased to endorse Fair and Equal Michigan, which aids job creation, accelerates economic growth, and ensures everyone has an equal chance to succeed."
 
"The Midland Business Alliance (MBA) strongly believes that everyone who lives and works in our state should be treated with fairness and respect," said Rebecca Cox, Chair, Midland Business Alliance Board of Directors. "The MBA supports non-discriminatory hiring practices and encourages employers to be inclusive when making personnel and other employment decisions. We encourage lawmakers to be proactive and resolve this issue in a fair and balanced matter."
 
“Passing Michigan's first LGBTQ non-discrimination bill sends a strong message that Michigan is open, inclusive, and welcoming to all in as we compete in attracting the best talent.,” said Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. "We are pleased to endorse Fair and Equal Michigan and continue to support the work of citizens to finally amend the state's civil rights law. By working together, we'll create jobs and accelerate economic growth so everyone has an equal chance to succeed."  
 
"One way we can attract and retain great talent in Michigan is to recognize that talent comes from all walks of life," said Veronica Horn, president and CEO of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce. "As a state, we need to make sure that everyone feels welcome here and that they can work in a career without worry of being dismissed because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. We must compete for this talent. Including LGBTQ equal rights being included in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act."
 
“Our organization supports Fair and Equal Michigan to ensure economic opportunity for all Michigan residents, and for those considering where their entrepreneurial spirit will take them next," said Warren Call, president and CEO of Traverse Connect. "Northern Michigan is competing on a national level to welcome the best and brightest talent to our region, and the proposed amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is critical to this effort."
 
"LGTBQ Michiganders still face discrimination in local employment, education, housing and public accommodations and we must act to right this wrong,” said Trevor Thomas, Co-Chair of Fair and Equal Michigan. “We applaud these organizations who join business and economic leaders across the state to make Michigan a welcoming place for all. More than 500,000 people signed a petition calling on the State House and Senate to pass the citizens' bill as written by Fair and Equal Michigan and we urge them to do so."
 
Fair and Equal Michigan is supported by: AFL-CIO, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber, Apple, Bay Area Chamber, Business Leaders for Michigan, Bells Brewing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Capitol Fundraising Associates, Carpenters and Joiners of America, Consumers Energy, Delta Dental, Detroit Lions, Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Dominos, Doner, Dow, DTE Energy, Dupont, Dykema, Equality Michigan Action, Fair Michigan, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Flagstar Bank, Ford, Founders Brewing, General Motors, GLAAD, Google, Hemlock Semiconductor, Herman Miller, ITC Holdings, Jackson National Life, Jim Toy Center, Kellogg Company, Kelly Services, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC), LPAC, Martin Waymire, Michigan Education Association, Masco, Motor City Pride, National Organization for Women, Pfizer, Rock Holdings, SEIU Michigan, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., Steelcase, Switch, TCF Bank, Trans Sistas of Color Project, Traverse Connect, Trilogy Interactive. 
 
Additionally, 37 national groups announced support for the effort: http://bit.ly/FAEM-National-Support 
 
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Background: 
For the first time ever, 530,000 Michigan citizens – including business, philanthropy, and leaders from both sides of the political aisle – joined LGBTQ advocacy groups to proclaim: Every Michigander should have an equal chance to succeed. The effort collected citizen signatures to introduce a bill to finally prohibit LGBTQ discrimination, make Michigan a talent attraction hub and grow Michigan jobs.
 
Fair and Equal Michigan Campaign Milestones:
  • Held 1.2 million pro-equality, citizen conversations;
  • Collected approx. 530,000 signatures;
  • Submitted 483,461 signatures of 340,047 required by law;
  • Trained 628 volunteers;
  • Employed 230 field organizers;
  • Cultivated 1,407 individual grassroots donors who gave 3,120 times;
  • Raised $2,932,837 despite pandemic;
  • Conducted multi-level audit process to submit best quality signatures;
  • Sued in Court to extend signature collection timeline;
  • Supported by Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber;
  • Supported by 21 mayors representing nearly 2 million citizens;
  • Established leadership committee of 80 Michigan leaders
 
Issue Overview:
>> The Problem: Right now in Michigan, we need state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations or public services of LGBTQ people. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission confirmed it has nearly 50 LGBTQ discrimination-based cases and Equality Michigan reported over 1,000 calls for help.
 
>> The Complication: For 38 consecutive years, the Michigan Legislature has failed to pass a law expressly protecting LGBTQ rights. The state’s current law, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, prohibits discrimination based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status. The first LGBTQ-rights bill was introduced in 1983 by Republican Rep. Jim Dressel, a former Air Force fighter pilot from Holland, MI, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
 
>> The Solution: Fair and Equal Michigan aims to pass the first-ever LGBTQ rights law through a citizens’ bill by petition. The petition defines “sex” to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Citizens’ submitted petition signatures in October 2020. The difference-maker: The Legislature is required to pass it or send the question to voters on the 2022 ballot. Lawmakers cannot vote it down. 
 
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CONTACT:
Josh Hovey, Fair and Equal Michigan
jhovey@martinwaymire.com