By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing
The East Lansing City Council has called on the Michigan Legislature to immediately ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to Mayor Nathan Triplett, East Lansing has been a leader in this type of legislation for a long time.
The council urged the Legislature to act in a resolution passed at its Sept. 16 meeting.
This city was also one of the first to pass legislation banning discrimination based on race, said Triplett.
Travis Lunsford, a member of the LGBT community in East Lansing, said, “I really value living in a municipality that has such protections against housing and employment discrimination for people like myself, because I can be myself without fear of having repercussions for that.”
Emily Dievendorf, executive director of Equality Michigan, said that this “is legislation that we’ve been trying to pass for 30 years.”
She said that because East Lansing is the first to pass such legislation it makes sense to ask the state to follow.
Alex Lange, assistant director for the LGBT Resource Center at Michigan State University, said, “We in the LGBT Resource Center are always happy to hear that protections for the entire community, not just a few of us, are being forwarded by the local and state legislators and we look forward to a statewide protection.”
According to Dievendorf, it is still completely legal to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community regarding applying for houses and jobs. Business owners even have the ability to deny service to individuals who identify as LGBT, said Dievendorf.
“The vast majority believe this policy to be wrong and it’s time for our elected leaders to reflect Michigan values,” said Dievendorf.
Triplett says that the council hopes the state Legislature will “do the right thing, which is passing a fully inclusive bill without delay.”