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Fair Michigan ends effort to put LGBTQ civil rights to a vote in Michigan

Fair Michigan ends effort to put LGBTQ civil rights to a vote in Michigan

Citing a lack of adequate funding, Fair Michigan, a coalition of groups and individuals headed up by civil rights attorney Dana Nessel and that included noted Republicans like Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Gov. Snyder’s former press secretary Sara Wurfel, and Lansing attorney and political mover-and-shaker Richard McClellan, has ended its attempt to put the civil rights of LGBTQ people to a vote in Michigan. Nessel revealed the news during a taping of Tim Skubik’s “Off The Record” program this morning:

The proposal to add civil rights for LGBT people to Michigan’s constitution will no longer aim for the 2016 ballots, its organizer announced during a taping of public television show Off The Record Friday morning.…
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GUEST POST: "I stopped calling myself an LGBT ally. I became an accomplice."

GUEST POST: “I stopped calling myself an LGBT ally. I became an accomplice.”

The guest post was written by Sommer Foster, the Political Director for Equality Michigan and a long time political activist. You can follow her on Twitter at @SNFoster.
I used to be a self-proclaimed ally. I had a gay best friend. I had gay and lesbian family members. I voted against the gay marriage ban. I pushed back against homophobic comments written on social media. I had an HRC Equal Sign sticker on my computer. I was progressive. I was enlightened. And I rightly believed that LGBTQ people deserve the same rights as everyone else. I was proud to claim my ally-ship as my identity.…

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LGBT Forum shocker: Proven voter model shows support for civil rights ballot initiative in Michigan at only 42%

LGBT Forum shocker: Proven voter model shows support for civil rights ballot initiative in Michigan at only 42%

[NOTE: This piece has been edited to correct a claim that Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson had helped draft the ballot language. This statement, based on civil rights attorney Dana Nessel’s opening remarks, was, apparently, inaccurate. I have corrected this post and issued a correction with audio HERE.]

Last night, the Jim Toy LGBT Community Center sponsored a “community conversation” about the Fair Michigan ballot initiative to expand civil rights protections to encompass gender identity and sexual orientation. The event was very well attended with around 200 people making up a standing-room-only crowd on the campus of Washtenaw Community College.…

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Get covered and assert your rights during Obamacare LGBT Week of Action

With the deadline to get insurance starting January 1 coming up on December 15 the time to act is now.

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), LGBT people faced significant discrimination in access to healthcare. That all changed with the passage of the law fondly known as Obamacare, and the uninsured rate for LGBT people has reached an all-time low.

But there are still far too many uninsured people in the LGBT community — which is why the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and partners like Out2Enroll and Enroll America have designated the week of December 7-11 a LGBT Week of Action.…

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An open letter to LGBT civil rights ballot initiative organizer on International Transgender Day of Remembrance

An open letter to LGBT civil rights ballot initiative organizer on International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, November 20th, is International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). TDOR was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The day is intended to bring awareness to the violence experienced by the transgender community on a daily basis. The trans community faces an inordinate level of violent crime including murder and assaults, crimes that, more often than not, go unreported as the hate crimes that they are.

Since the last TDOR in 2014, 24 transgender people have been murdered in the USA alone.…

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Federal judge: ACLU of Michigan case challenging state ID policy on gender markers will move forward

Federal judge: ACLU of Michigan case challenging state ID policy on gender markers will move forward

Lawsuit seeks to make it easier for transgender people to change the gender marker on their state IDs.

In a victory for fairness and anti-discrimination protections, on Monday a federal judge refused Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s motion to dismiss an ACLU lawsuit. The lawsuit challenges a state policy that makes it nearly impossible for transgender Michiganders to change gender markers on their driver’s licenses and state IDs.

In her decision, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds held that “plaintiffs have raised a cognizable privacy claim.”

“Plaintiffs have offered a plethora of evidence which, accepted as true, suggests that the Policy poses a real threat to their ‘personal security and bodily integrity,'” Edmunds wrote.…

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UPDATED: Utah judge removes foster child from home because parents are lesbians

UPDATED: Utah judge removes foster child from home because parents are lesbians

According to a Utah judge, foster children are better of with opposite-sex parents and, due to his unfounded belief, has removed the child they had planned to adopt from the home of Beckie Peirce and April Hoagland who are married. “We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Peirce told the Salt Lake Tribune. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”

Here are the details of this outrageous and, likely, illegal move:

[Beckie] Peirce, 34, and her wife, 38-year-old April Hoagland, have had the 1-year-old girl in their home for three months while the state moves toward terminating her biological mother’s parental rights.…
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Supporters of effort to put LGBT civil rights to a statewide vote take to social media to attack critics

Supporters of effort to put LGBT civil rights to a statewide vote take to social media to attack critics

As I reported earlier this week, a group headed up by civil rights attorney Dana Nessel has formed to put civil rights for the LGBT community on the ballot in 2016. Nessel’s group, Fair Michigan, will submit petition language and then collect signatures for a ballot proposal that will enshrine civil rights like employment and housing equality in the state constitution, forcing the state legislature to amend the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. She has some heavy hitters in her corner like Republican attorney Richard McLellan and Democratic strategist Howard Edelson.

What she does not have, however, is the support of any of the major LGBT organizations in the state.…

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Michigan House Dem Adam Zemke led effort to block sending tax dollars to pay for Bill Schuette's wasteful anti-LGBT crusade

Michigan House Dem Adam Zemke led effort to block sending tax dollars to pay for Bill Schuette’s wasteful anti-LGBT crusade

As we all know by now, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s crusade against marriage equality ran up a multimillion dollar bill for Michigan taxpayers. Schuette’s office was ordered to pay the court costs and attorney fees for the Michigan defendants in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges marriage equality U.S. Supreme Court case totalling $1.9 million. This is addition to the tax dollars spent hiring what turned out to be a tragically inept lawyer to argue the case before the Supreme Court along with countless hours of staff attorney time in the months leading up to the final SCOTUS decision.

This week the House Appropriations Committee voted on Legislative Transfer Request 2015-8 that will transfer of reimbursement funds to the Attorney General’s office, funds that would have been available for other things like education, public safety, and road repairs.…

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ACLU case challenging gender markers on Michigan state IDs gets its day in court Nov. 4

ACLU case challenging gender markers on Michigan state IDs gets its day in court Nov. 4

Transgender advocates are urged to be at U.S. District Court in Detroit to show their support.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit against the Michigan Secretary of State challenging a department policy that makes it impossible for many transgender individuals to correct the gender on their driver’s licenses and other forms of identification.

On Wednesday, November 4th at 2 p.m., arguments in the case will be heard in Detroit by federal Judge Nancy Edmonds. The case, Love v Johnson, seeks to overturn current Secretary of State policy implemented in 2011, under which the state refuses to change the gender on a driver’s license or state ID unless the person produces an amended birth certificate showing the correct gender.…

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Group formed to put LGBT civil rights to a vote as a 2016 ballot initiative without main LGBT advocates on board

Group formed to put LGBT civil rights to a vote as a 2016 ballot initiative without main LGBT advocates on board

Dana Nessel, the rock star Michigan attorney who was part of the legal team that made same-sex marriage the law of the land in the USA, has formed a ballot committee to collect signatures to put changing the state constitution to protect members of the LGBT community to voters in 2016. If passed, the measure would then compel state legislators to update the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to protect them from violence and discrimination in employment and housing. According to the Detroit Free Press, Nessel made the decision almost immediately after learning their team had prevailed in the Supreme Court marriage equality case:

That decision came out on a Friday and it was such a wonderful day and then I went into my office on Monday and I was hearing from people who were being fired after announcing their engagement,” she said.…
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