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Newest Democratic Senator Gary Peters cosponsoring anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT kids

As religious groups across the nation lobby to have new laws passed to ensure their right to discriminate against the LGBT community, Democrats and even some Republicans are moving to ensure the LGBT kids, at least, are protected from bullying and violence.

The only new Democrat in the U.S. Senate after the 2014 election is Michigan’s own Gary Peters. Peters announced today that he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to prevent bullying of LGBT kids.

Although federal civil rights laws explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin, they do not protect Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.…

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Why did Rick Snyder “follow the law” on recognizing 300+ Michigan same-sex marriages but not on our same-sex marriage ban???

Yesterday when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that his administration would not appeal a decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith that compelled Michigan to recognize nearly 320 same-sex marriages performed in March of last year, he said hes was doing because he wanted to “follow the law” as laid down by Judge Goldsmith.

Here is his full statement (emphasis is mine):

Gov. Rick Snyder said today he will not appeal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling recognizing the validity of the approximately 300 same-sex couples married in four counties of Michigan on March 22, 2014 and issued the following statement:

“The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples.

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300 same-sex couples married in Michigan last year will have their marriages recognized by the state government

Last year, nearly 300 same-sex couples took advantage of a one-day window of opportunity to legally marry in the state of Michigan. It was a joyous day which Anne and I documented with words and emotional photos HERE.

While the federal government via Attorney General Eric Holder quickly affirmed that the federal government would recognize the marriages as legal, the state of Michigan, led by Bigot-in-Chief Attorney General Bill Schuette, declared that it would not. A lawsuit ensued and AG Schuette along with Gov. Rick Snyder were slapped down by a federal judge last month. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote:

The fundamental question in this case is whether officials of the State of Michigan are violating the United States Constitution by refusing to recognize the marital status of same-sex couples whose marriages were solemnized pursuant to Michigan marriage licenses issued in accordance with Michigan law in effect at the time of the marriages.…
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BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear marriage equality case of Michigan couple

At a conference today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear the marriage equality case of April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. The two women have adopted four children but are not able to adopt them together because they are not married thanks to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. The original suit was challenging Michigan’s adoption laws but a federal judge convinced the two to challenge the marriage ban itself. From SCOTUSblog:

Taking on a historic constitutional challenge with wide cultural impact, the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex marriage.…
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Federal judge compels Michigan to recognize 300 same-sex couples married in March 2014

“What the state has joined together, it may not put asunder.”


Connie Greer and Diane VanDorn of Ann Arbor (formerly Dexter). Read about their story HERE.

In a huge rebuke to Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and anti-LGBT homophobes in Michigan, a federal judge today ruled that the state of Michigan must recognize the marriages of the nearly 300 same-sex couples that were married last March. (See our photoblog of that joyous day HERE.)

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote:

The fundamental question in this case is whether officials of the State of Michigan are violating the United States Constitution by refusing to recognize the marital status of same-sex couples whose marriages were solemnized pursuant to Michigan marriage licenses issued in accordance with Michigan law in effect at the time of the marriages.…
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Republican Tim Walberg works to halt federal workplace protections for the LGBT community

This past summer, President Obama issued Executive Order 13672 which will add prohibitions against discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracts. EO 13672 modifies previous Executive Order 11478 by substituting “sexual orientation, gender identity” for “sexual orientation” and Executive Order 11246 by substituting “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin” for “sex, or national origin”.

Last Friday, EO 13672 was published in the Federal Register as a final rule meaning that it will take effect in March 2015. Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs which is responsible for enforcement, had this to say about the new rule:

This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars.…
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One more trans* person’s testimony legislators didn’t hear at last week’s ELCRA hearing

Since last week’s hearing on expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include the LGBT community, I have been sharing testimony prepared by members of the trans* community that were to be delivered at the State House Commerce Committee hearing. Since not enough time was alotted to hear these personal stories at the hearing, seven of them have been posted at the No-T-No-Equality.com website and I am cross-posting several of them here at Eclectablog.

You can read the others HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Here is Zoe Steinfeld’s prepared remarks:

Thank you for letting me speak this morning, and thank you for holding this hearing on an inclusive amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.…
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Another trans* person’s testimony legislators didn’t hear at this week’s ELCRA hearing

Over the past two days, I have been sharing testimony prepared by members of the trans* community that were to be delivered at a State House Commerce Committee hearing on expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include the LGBT community. Unfortunately, not enough time was alotted to hear these personal stories. You can read them HERE and HERE.

Today you can read Amanda Niven’s testimony and I’ll have one more tomorrow. You can read all seven of them at the No-T-No-Equality.com website.

Here is Amanda’s prepared testimony:


Amanda Niven

Good morning. My name is Amanda Niven. I am leading the Trans* Leadership Project, and I am a person that you may find confusing.

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MI House says adoption agencies can discriminate against LGBT couples

Taking the state backward. Again.

Every year, there are around 3,000 kids in Michigan who become eligible for adoption from foster care. The Michigan GOP would rather these kids stay in foster care than be adopted by loving gay or lesbian parents. In addition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Amy has been covering so well, the Michigan House yesterday passed a law giving adoption agencies permission to discriminate against gay or lesbian families in adoption (I’m sorry, allow adoption agencies to “object on moral or religious grounds”). This is even though they receive taxpayer dollars, and even if such an adoption would be in the best interest of the child. ...
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Michigan GOP kills expansion of LGBT civil rights and passes “license to discriminate” bill out of committee

Michigan’s Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has been paying lip service to the LGBT community by saying that he supports expanding civil rights protects to them as long as it (a) doesn’t include transgender Michiganders and (b) is accompanied by a “license to discriminate” bill that allows anyone who wants to deny basic services to gays, lesbians, or bisexuals the ability to claim “sincerely-held religious beliefs” in order to do so.

Yesterday, a House committee essentially killed off any hopes of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to cover either LGB or LGBT people. Today, House Republicans moved forward with the “license to discriminate” bill anyway, voting along party lines to send it to the full House for a vote.…

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