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Gender Identity Focus Of Civil Rights Protections Discussion

Nov 21, 2014

LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

Credit wikimedia commons

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

Activists say a bill that leaves out protections for transgender people would cause more harm than good.

“There is also the possibility that we will be floated the bill that we absolutely do not want and that we will have to do everything we can to bury that, to blow that up. And we are prepared to do that as well,” said Emily Dievendorf with the group Equality Michigan.

Dievendorf was speaking on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

“We think that we absolutely still have the votes. And we are still prepared to make sure that that does not happen if it is, in any way, not the complete bill that we need because that would be harmful to have for our community.”

She also indicated that her group believes time is running out to pass the legislation

“We have no illusion that we can get this passed in this next legislative session,” said Dievendorf.

Many expect next year’s Legislature to be more conservative than the current one. And groups supporting the measure say educating dozens of new members on their issue could kill any momentum for the bill.

But Dievendorf says they could also pursue a petition drive to protect people who are LGBT if lawmakers fail to pass a bill or if they pass one that leaves out transgender people.

Outgoing State House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, has said he supports legislation that does not include protections based on gender identity.