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Major employers want LGBT protections in Michigan law

by: Eric B.

Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:55:04 AM EDT

Teh Ghey Agenda comes this closer to putting its foot on our collective throat and ramming its deviant lifestyle into our piehole.

Whirlpool, Dow Chemical, Google, Consumers Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Herman Miller and Steelcase are among the founding members of the newly formed organization lobbying to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition wants the state Legislature to add it to Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on religion, race, color and national origin and later added age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status.

This is actually a fairly severe gauntlet, because now if our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect doesn't expand Eliot-Larsen, it makes it look not just like Michigan tacitly discriminates by not taking it up but that we had the conversation and decided to keep doing it.

Of course, that's assuming that this isn't some kind of extortion racket ... the same way Goat Killer asserted homosexuals, through the city of San Francisco, extorted American Airlines into giving same sex domestic benefits.

Eric B. :: Major employers want LGBT protections in Michigan law
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I just hope
I just hope this is a genuine push and a genuine change of heart.  I mean, I just hope that these same companies who usually fund Republican candidates for office aren't doing this while also funding these Republicans candidates, or it defeats the purpose.  I hate that I'm so cynical, but these companies have track records here in Michigan.

I don't want to see any of these companies coming up in campaign donation reports for anti-equality Republicans, is what I'm saying.

BTW, this is all me assuming that they won't pass this, or that if they do it will be well after the primaries.  If you thought passing he Medicaid expansion was anathema for them, imagine the fight over this.  For as far as the nation has moved, and for as much as they are in the minority on obstructing this/for as popular this now is among the general electorate, even, this is going to be so much harder for them to swallow.  I don't see how they do this in election year, which is why I'm hoping this is some kind of 11-dimensional chess to get the governor's office and at least one of the state houses for Dems, because then it would be inevitable for sure.

I don't see it being inevitable
With a Dem gov and one Dem house. There's no way it would even reach the floor in the other house. Even with a Dem gov and both houses, I'd call it 50-50 at best.

I get why major companies are behind this - they're having trouble competing for good talent with less retrograde states such as, mmm, Illinois and Minnesota, just to mention a couple here in the region. Having said that, unless they back up their lobbying with redirection of their PAC money to pro-gay candidates it's all for naught in today's GOP.

[ Parent ]
It's becoming a huge pressure on the legislature right now, and that's with all three branches controlled by Republicans.  If we got back one house and the governor's office, the Republican controlled body would not be able to sustain the pressure of something so popular.  It's be an inevitability.

[ Parent ]
I'm not seeing it
It may be true that a large percentage of Michiganians favor adding sexual orientation, etc., to Elliott-Larsen, but unless they're willing to change their votes based on a candidate's position on this, it doesn't matter.

Based on the voting in 2004 (Bush-Kerry compared with Prop 2), there are a fair number of pro-gay rights (or at least not anti-gay) Republican voters in my area of Bloomfield Township/Bloomfield Hills/Birmingham. The question is how many of them would be willing to vote for a Dem for the legislature if the Rep had the wrong position on gay rights. I'd guess not too many, because gay rights are about 59th on their list of priorities. And I'd guess the same is true of pro-gay Rep voters throughout Michigan.

That's why I'd say a Rep-controlled house (let's call it the Senate for the sake of argument) wouldn't even bring an Elliott-Larsen amendment to the floor. The electoral calculations of the members of the majority (chance of getting primaried versus the chance of losing a general) work in favor of keeping gay rights on the shelf for the foreseeable future.

Now I could be wrong, and if I am I'll admit it, but I'll say again that the only way to add sexual orientation to Elliott-Larsen in my lifetime (and I'm expecting to have another 15-20 years) is an initiative, which would pass easily.

[ Parent ]
I think
I personally think you're being pessimistic, as I think the votes are there in the legislature, particularly whenever the GOP gets pushed back to minority status in the house.  The only reason they aren't acting on this, now, is because they are beholden to their crazy base.  With that pressure removed, if we got back the house and governor's office, I have absolutely zero doubt we could peel off a few state senators.  

So long as they are the majority in each of those bodies, it's not going to happen.  But this could happen in the legislature as soon as next year if we do well.

I don't know, I'm guessing your quite a bit older than me (20's, here), and I'm just not nearly as pessimistic, and I think the numbers back me up.  Hell, I'd predict even if they defended all of their offices successfully, the pressure is so great we could probably do this in the legislature in the next year or two.  

An initiative would be a sure bet, no doubt, but I'm nowhere near as pessimistic about even a GOP-controlled legislature as you are.  Republicans are going to suffer electoral consequences for their anti-equality stance, and I predict we'll start seeing it as soon as this very upcoming election.

[ Parent ]
Well you're right
I am quite a bit older than you (60), so maybe that does cloud my judgement (although I'm truly impressed with the progress we've seen in the 46 years since I figured out I'm gay).

You might be right that a stronger Dem minority in the Senate could peel off a few Rep votes for this, but that assumes the bill would make it to the Senate floor in the first place. I know nothing about the rules of the Senate, but is there a procedure under which members can force a vote on a bill that the majority leadership opposes?

You're right that if it could be shown that there are negative electoral consequences to being anti-equality it would pass easily, and I guess time will tell whether that's the case.

Oh and by the way, how about repealing MCL 750.158-750.159 (the anti-sodomy law)? Or really modifying it to make it an anti-bestiality law, since as written it covers both topics (paging Rick Santorum!). It's unenforceable in the wake of Lawrence, and actually should have been declared unenforceable before that, since it doesn't specify the prohibited conduct, so why not get rid of the damned thing?

[ Parent ]
Now this poses a conundrum
for the Republicans, who have already enraged the teabillies with their acceptance of the Marxist Kenyan's Sharia-based Medicare expansion. If they bow to the dreaded Homosexual Agenda, teabagger heads will explode, and Republicans can expect another round of primary challenges from the far right. If they don't, major contributors may be pissed enough to withhold cash.

Either way, it's going to interfere with their plans in November.

This is a rare case of big donors being a force for good
The Monkey Cage has an article about this: How wealthy campaign donors may reduce political polarization and weaken the tea party.
Grouping Republican candidates by ideology reveals that the decision is good news for some but very bad news for others. The most conservative Republicans have raised only a small fraction from top donors compared to their less conservative counterparts. The top donors similarly favor more moderate Democrats to those who are more extreme, but the differences are less stark.
The bottom line is that the era of big donors is here to stay. This era may help counteract polarization, but that will come at the cost of greater political inequality.
Look, a silver lining!  Just the same, big donors are a dark cloud.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

My guess
Is it will take an initiative to get this done. As long as the Rs control either house, there's no way it will reach the floor, and I have my doubts whether Ds will push it if they ever by some miracle win both houses; there will be too many marginal members terrified that their constituents are total rednecks who will boot them out if they vote for it.

I've heard rumors...
From folks working with various LGBT organizations that support for amending ELCRA is there, but the cowards are waiting until Lame Duck to do anything with it.

I'm more of a "believe it when I see it" kind of gal, personally.  

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