Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has only been on the job for a week but she’s already making a world of difference for her state. The newly sworn-in Michigan governor signed a directive that bars LGBTQ discrimination in state employment and services.
Gov. Whitmer signed the order at the LGBTQ community center Affirmations in Ferndale, Mich. while surrounded by the community advocates. She said the executive directive is necessary in order to attract new businesses and a talented workforce.
“By strengthening non-discrimination protections in state government employment, contracting, and services, we will make Michigan a model of equal opportunity and build a more welcoming and inclusive state that works for everyone,” Whitmer said in a statement.
The directive will clarify that employment protections cover all state employees, require all recipients of state contracts grants and loans to extend protections to their employees, prohibit discrimination in state services, and extend prohibitions on discrimination to include discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression—which will now be consistent with the action taken by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in May 2018.
INTO spoke with Equality Michigan Interim Executive Director Erin Knott, who said the directive represents a big step in a state that lacks nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
“Governor Whitmer has gone way further than any prior Michigan Administration in ensuring these protections apply to everyone without a carveout or exemption of any kind,” Knott told INTO. “This is part of a national trend that is guaranteeing as many LGBT people are protected as possible.”
The state’s new attorney general, Dana Nessel, who is the nation’s second out LGBTQ person to hold that position, also applauded the directive.
“I am grateful that [Gretchen Whitmer] has made anti-discrimination one of her top priorities in her first days in office,” she tweeted. “I am hopeful that soon our state laws will also reflect the paradigm of equal protection under the law for all Michiganders.”