Fair and Equal Michigan campaign comes to East Lansing

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The Fair and Equal Michigan Campaign started a petition drive last month and visited East Lansing today in hope of getting more signatures and to get some help.

The goal is to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act in Michigan. The act protects people from being discriminated against based on things like race, age, religion, etc., but not on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We need to have a welcoming state, not just you know, my block, it needs to be all of Michigan, we need everyone to be welcomed and cared for,” said one supporter of the petition, Debra Bennett.

Bennett is also a concerned mom.

“I’m here because my kid is transgender and can’t come home to live in my state,” said Bennett.

She added that her son went to college in Ohio, then moved to Rhode Island after not feeling welcomed back in Michigan.

“I want to turn the tides so that no family has to go through splitting up because not everyone is welcomed and greeted with love and care,” said Bennett.

The group started the petition in January and has until May 27th to get more than 340,000 signatures. On average, they need approximately 4,200 signatures a day.

“Back then when it was enacted it was focused on racial and minorities primarily because that was the discussion, it’s long overdo to change it,” said volunteer coordinator for Fair and Equal Michigan, Walt Sorg.

Republican Lawmakers haven’t embraced measures like this in the past or have insisted they be paired with religious objection measures.

If the group does get the signatures they need by the deadline, the Legislature will have 40 days to enact it or turn it over to Michigan voters on the November ballot.

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