By Yuehan Liu
The Bath-DeWitt Connection
As 32 states recognize gay marriage in America, people nowadays pay more attention to LGBT rights. In Michigan, one of all the important issues shows up for the upcoming election, in both the Democratic and Republican parties, which is adding LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, was written and passed in 1976, the main goal of the act is to protect people’s human rights and to make employers treat people equally, no matter their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.
Currently in the State of Michigan, it’s legal to fire someone or refuse housing just because of his/her sexuality or gender identity. And for this upcoming election, both Democrats and Republicans think it is very important to add LGBT to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Equality Michigan estimates that at least 287,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults live in Michigan. (https://www.equalitymi.org/files/uploads/how_many_lgbt_people_live_in_michigan.pdf) For this large amount of people, giving them equal rights and protecting them from discrimination is an important issue.
“Because my friends, my family that are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, they just want to be able to raise families, they just want to be able to live happily, if you just talk to them you will see that they don’t want anything big or crazy, they just want to be treat equally”, said Josh Derke, member of Clinton County Democratic Party, who is running for State Representative of Michigan’s 93rd House District.
Derke also mentioned that the fight for LGBT protection can also help Michigan’s economy.
“I think it is very important because at the state level, they are talking about laws that would affect them, and a study recently shows that if we do protect gays and lesbians and bisexual and trans people, we can bring up to 53 million dollars economy activities state”, Derke said.
“My best friend is gay, he is very kind and he works hard, I think he deserve to have protection and not to lost a job just because of the fact the he is gay”, said Anna Epkey, a citizen in the city of DeWitt.
Dr. Nettie Walker Wood, the Corresponding Secretary of the Clinton County Democratic party is also a faithful Christian and plays the piano for her church. Wood mentioned that there are conflicts about same-sex marriage because the United States has a lot of Christians, and the ideas of the country are based on the bible, but the LGBT protection is about human rights.
“This is the country that believes in helping people in this country become strong”, Wood said.
The issue about LGBT protection is about treating people equally with job opportunities.