Business leaders call on legislature to support bills providing protection to all Michigan residents

Posted on November 19, 2014


November 19, 2014


David Waymire

Business leaders call on legislature to support bills providing protection to all Michigan residents

Freedom Michigan coalition members push for legislation to include transgender people in ELCRA protections

LANSING, Mich. Freedom Michigan held a media roundtable calling on lawmakers to support legislation to update Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Freedom Michigan is a bipartisan campaign of business, civil rights, religious, community and LGBT leaders who are rallying to protect gay and transgender Michiganders from discrimination in Michigan. Business leaders call for these necessary protections to boost the economic climate and attract talent to our state.

“A cornerstone of my business model is to celebrate diversity instead of stifling it,” said Phil Cooley, owner of SLOWS BAR B Q. “Prominent business leaders urge the legislature to move forward on an inclusive update to Michigan’s law. Our state has a strong history of leadership in the battle against discrimination. Modernizing the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include gay and transgender individuals is right for our economy, right for our state, and now is the right time.”

Call participants encouraged the legislature to support an inclusive bill that offers full protections like the one introduced by Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), or amend a bill introduced by Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) that allows for discrimination of transgender Michiganders.

“It’s simply unacceptable that it’s legal in Michigan to fire somebody because they’re gay or transgender,” said Josh Linkner, entrepreneur and founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners. “Our goal is simple, to help Governor Snyder build a better business climate for our state. We have only a few session days left and the time to act is now.”

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. Research shows 75 percent of Michigan residents support updating ELCRA to protect LGBT people, and many communities across Michigan have taken measures to update their cvil rights ordinances to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression protections.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition expanded its efforts two weeks ago by launching Freedom Michigan, a campaign that already has seen tens of thousands of Michigan residents sign a pledge calling legislators to act without delay. The campaign has deployed organizers and volunteers needed to amplify support in key legislative districts across the state for updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.


Freedom Michigan is a coalition of business leaders, lawmakers, faith leaders, grassroots activists, members of the LGBT community and concerned residents who have come together across party lines for one goal: To update the landmark Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to protect LGBT Michiganders from discrimination.