February 12, 2020

LANSING, MI – Twenty one mayors from across the state announced their support today for Fair and Equal Michigan, an initiative launched on January 7 that seeks to introduce a citizens’ bill in the State Legislature after advocates collect citizen signatures. The Legislature will have 40 days to decide if every Michigander deserves a fair and equal chance to succeed. The mayors represent communities large and small with populations as demographically and politically diverse as the entire state of Michigan. All of them agree – discrimination against LGBTQ individuals must be banned.  

“Detroit is proud to be a welcoming city where discrimination of any kind isn’t tolerated. For that reason, we support the expansion of the Elliott Larsen act,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

“As a city we strive to be nationally recognized as an equitable, welcoming, innovative and collaborative community with opportunity for all.  We have long been proud of our commitment to civil rights protections, which aligns with this vision,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “Yet we need to go beyond policies within our City and ensure all Michiganders have these protections, which is why I stand in solidarity with others throughout our state in support of expanding Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.”

“All people deserve to be protected under law. No one should face discrimination or be allowed to be treated differently because of what they look like or how they live their life. We shouldn’t have to push for a vote to affirm the rights of the LGBTQ community, but the time has come for these protections to be placed into law,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “Those in the City of Lansing are protected for their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in our human rights ordinances, and I am proud to be part of making this law statewide.”

“Political leadership entails protecting the rights of ALL citizens,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “The Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act serves to preserve these rights, but it must be all inclusive. It’s time we as a state act to protect our citizens and get over prejudices that are unwarranted. All citizens should be protected equally without bias, which is why I am supporting the efforts of Fair and Equal Michigan.”

"Jackson recently joined scores of other cities in passing these protections into law because we know people want to live and work in tolerant, inclusive cities that view diversity as a strength," said Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies. "Michigan shouldn't just be a patchwork of places that prohibit discrimination. This ballot initiative changes that. It amends state law to afford our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends, neighbors and coworkers the same protections from discrimination we allow for everyone else. That's truly a fair and equal Michigan. "

The full list of mayors who have added their name to support adding LGBTQ protections to the state civil rights law includes:

  • David Anderson, mayor of Kalamazoo
  • Beth Bashert, mayor of Ypsilanti
  • Mark Behnke, mayor of Battle Creek
  • Ruth Beier, mayor of East Lansing
  • Rosalynn Bliss, mayor of Grand Rapids
  • Maureen Brosnan, mayor of Livonia
  • Jim Carruthers, mayor of Traverse City
  • Derek Dobies, mayor of Jackson
  • Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit
  • Will Joseph, mayor of Mt. Pleasant
  • Kurt Metzger, mayor of Pleasant Ridge
  • Kathy Newsham, mayor of Bay City
  • Melanie Piana, mayor of Ferndale
  • Patricia Randall, mayor of Portage
  • Steve Rzeppa, mayor of Trenton
  • Andy Schor, mayor of Lansing
  • Ken Siver, mayor of Southfield
  • Scott Smith, mayor of South Haven
  • Chris Taylor, mayor of Ann Arbor
  • Michael Taylor, mayor of Sterling Heights
  • Oliver Wolcott, mayor of Plymouth

Fair and Equal Michigan is seeking to amend the state Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. The Act already protects individuals against discrimination in employment, public accommodation, education and housing based on 10 factors, including age, race, sex, and religion.

Once Fair and Equal Michigan collects the 340,047 valid signatures required, the Michigan Legislature will have 40 days to adopt the proposed amendments to the state civil rights law without change. If the Legislature does not act it will be submitted to Michigan voters for approval at the November 3, 2020, General Election.

A non-partisan survey of 600 registered voters by the Glengariff Group shows 77.5 percent of likely 2020 Michigan General Election voters support legislation to amend the state’s civil rights law to protect LGBTQ people.  Importantly, the poll found that 75 percent of leaning GOP voters and 66 percent of strong Republican voters also support the initiative.

For more information about the Fair and Equal Michigan campaign, visit www.FairAndEqualMichigan.com