Michigan ballot drive for LGBTQ nondiscrimination law fails

Sat. July 10, 2021 11:17 AM by Gerald Farinas


photo credit // canva

Initiative would have allowed voters to decide LGBTQ protections

Michigan advocates pressed LGBTQ residents and allies to gather signatures to put a nondiscrimination bill before the voting public to decide. Unfortunately, the state's election office said they failed to collect the minimum amount of valid voter signatures needed.

The Associated Press reported that Fair and Equal Michigan needed 340,000 valid voter signatures. They presented 445,000 signatures but signatures were thrown out because they weren't valid. That left only about 299,000 signatures.

Signatures were deemed invalid if they were not registered to vote, or there were errors with addresses, dates, among other issues.

Had there been enough signatures, a nondiscrimination law could be brought before the general public for a vote. A version of the bill has been stalled by the Republican-led legislature, forcing advocates to go through a ballot initiative instead.

The effort seeks to add sexual orientation and gender identity protections in employment, housing and accomodations to an already existing civil rights law enacted in 1976.

If Congress fails to pass the Equality Act, a federal law that would create broad LGBTQ protections nationwide, at the very least the state would have its own protections.

National-level advocates argue this is another clear example of why a federal law like the Equality Act needs to be passed. It currently only needs the U.S. Senate's approval before it could be signed by President Joe Biden.