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UPDATED: Michigan Dems take leadership role on women’s access to contraception and LGBT civil rights


Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer

This week, as Michigan’s legislature comes back to work, Michigan Democrats are taking a proactive leadership role on two critical issues.

First, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer and House Rep. Gretchen Driskell (maybe we should call them “The Fighting Gretchens”?) announced that they will introduce legislation requiring companies who choose to deny women access to specific types of contraception based on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision to notify existing and prospective employees of this fact:

“Whether or not a company’s reproductive health coverage is comprehensive can be an important factor for a family to consider when making decisions about a job prospect,” Rep.…
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EVENT: Rally for marriage equality in Detroit, Thursday, August 21st

This Thursday, there will be a rally at the Detroit Courthouse to support marriage equality in Michigan and the 300 same-sex couples who were married in March.

Here are the details, via Michigan for Marriage:

Join us in Detroit at a rally for the freedom to marry
After a federal judge struck down Michigan’s marriage ban in March, more than 300 same-sex couples legally married across the state before that historic ruling could be stayed.

The federal government is already recognizing these marriages as legal but Governor Rick Snyder won’t budge—putting hundreds of Michigan families in legal limbo as Michigan’s marriage case makes its way through the courts.

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Why Michigan, and every state, should outlaw sexual orientation conversion therapy

Michigan Representative Adam F. Zemke has introduced a bill to prohibit the harmful practice and protect LGBT youth.

Imagine being told every day during adolescence that there was something terribly wrong with you, and that you’d never be loved or happy until you changed it — even though it wasn’t something within your power to change.

That’s exactly what happens to gay men and women when they undergo “conversion therapy,” which is purported to help them “fix” their sexual orientation. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with their sexual orientation, which is not in their power to change. So, naturally, this kind of “therapy” doesn’t work.…

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Michigan insurers are denying transgender people coverage for necessary medical care

Advocates are working to get the same services covered for trans men and women that are covered for everyone else.

Jay Maddock has known he was a man for most of his life, even though that’s not the body he was born with. At age five, he told his dad he wanted to be a man, and was fortunate to grow up in a family that didn’t push gender stereotypes.

After spending 10 years living as a gay woman, Maddock decided he wasn’t going to let another year go by without living his real life. At age 25, he came out as a transgender man, and in 2011 he began his medical transition with therapy, testosterone injections and surgery to remove his breasts.…

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VIDEO: Burger King embraces LGBT equality in a simple and profound way – The “Proud Whopper”

So, like it’s a like gay burger or what…?

I’m not a fast food eating sort of dude but this right here is pure awesome. Burger King’s “Proud Whopper”. They did it at one location only in San Francisco but it needs to be done everywhere from time to time.

Go, Burger King. I’m lovin’ it (so to speak.)…

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Will the Michigan GOP sacrifice LGBT civil rights on the altar of “deeply held religious beliefs”?

Last week, Governor Snyder pretended that he’s suddenly concerned with adding protections for LGBT folks to our state’s civil rights law, the Elliott-Larsen Act. As I have already said, this is a sham. Governor Snyder’s own words show how squishy his “support” is:

“I’m encouraging them to say there’s been a lot of dialog and discussion on this. It’s been healthy in the public and I think it could be an appropriate topic for the legislators to take up. I would appreciate that.

Derp.

But the most troubling aspect of the Michigan GOP’s sudden interest in protecting the civil rights of the LGBT community in an election year isn’t how squishy it is but that it’s likely to be trumped by concern for the “deeply held religious beliefs” of our states bigots.…

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Gov. Rick Snyder’s new-found concern for LGBT civil rights is a sham

Yesterday at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder did an about-face on his position regarding civil rights for members of the LGBT community. His actions or, rather, lack of actions on behalf of the LGBT community are well-known so the abrupt change is cause for considerable skepticism.

Snyder spelled out his new-found interest in LGBT civil rights in an interview on Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside program. During the interview, host Cynthia Canty asked Gov. Snyder about this sudden shift in his position:

Cynthia Canty: Just this morning Governor Snyder sent the strongest signal yet that he would look favorably on adding LGBT to Michigan’s civil rights law… [Governor Snyder,] you say this is something you want the legislature to take up but is this something you would actually endorse?…
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VIDEO: A transgender story with a happy ending – “The Whittington Family: Ryland’s Story”

Many of us in the progressive arena advocate passionately for LGBT civil rights. And right we should; it is literally the civil rights struggle of our time. Interestingly and unfortunately, LGBT rights have become mainly synonymous with civil rights for gay and lesbian men and women. Bisexuals like myself often aren’t taken seriously by straight or queer people and we often aren’t seen having much to worry about despite the fact that we can still be fired from our jobs in states like Michigan should our sexual orientation be discovered. I once had a national LGBT activist chide me for saying “our struggle” because he knew I was married to a woman.…

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Marriage equality advances again…but it’s still legal in Michigan to fire someone for being gay (UPDATED)

Why does our state lag behind Kansas and West Virginia?

Yesterday a federal judge overturned Oregon’s gay marriage ban. Today, an announcement is expected in a similar case in Pennsylvania. (UPDATE: Indeed, the PA judge ruled the ban unconstitutional). Equality is spreading, and we should celebrate. At the same time, however, a vote last night in Saginaw's city council shows how far we in Michigan still have to come, as the city council decided not to protect the city's gay and transgender population from discrimination in employment and public accommodations. Advocates have been bringing local non-discrimination ordinances to cities across Michigan because the state still fails to provide protection from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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As business leaders call for LGBT civil rights equality, Gov. Snyder says it’s “not really relevant”

Last year, Governor Snyder was asked about revising Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to extend coverage to members of the LGBT community. The fact that it currently doesn’t means that people like me can be fired from our jobs simply because we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Governor Snyder’s response was, in effect, “it’s not on my agenda” and he said he was waiting for action from the legislature on this.

LEADERSHIP!

As I wrote then, there is plenty of evidence that maintaining this discriminatory environment for the LGBT community is harming our economic recovery. A study by Gov.

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