Michigan business leaders voice opposition to state's potential anti-LGBT legislation

Last month, state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, announced that he plans on introducing discriminatory legislation that would require students to prove that their gender matches their gender at birth before being allowed to use the restroom. If passed, Michigan would join Mississippi and North Carolina to have a gender inspection law on the books.

“Herman Miller believes in ensuring the rights of all individuals, and we know that inclusive communities create more competitive companies in a global marketplace,” said Brian Walker, Herman Miller’s Chief Executive Officer and Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition co-chair. “Michigan has made great strides in recent years to attract and retain a high quality talent base, but legalizing discrimination of any kind will severely hinder these efforts. Lawmakers should instead be focusing on measures to ensure no one can be denied services, housing, or employment based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or otherwise.”

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition — an organization composed of businesses, companies, associations and chambers of commerce from across the sate — is united in its opposition to any legislation that would legalize discrimination against any Michigander, including those who are LGBT.

Other states, including South Dakota and Tennessee, have considered similar gender inspection legislation this year. However, unlike in North Carolina and Mississippi, Republican leaders in both states stopped the legislation from becoming law after learning that it would adversely impact their state economies, and would put millions of dollars in federal education funds at risk. 

“At Dow and on behalf of our 25,000 employees across the nation, we support full inclusion of our LGBT colleagues, friends, neighbors and family members,”  Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company, said. “That’s why we are calling on lawmakers to not only oppose any legislation that would permit discrimination, but to focus on policies that ensure fairness and opportunity for everyone.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, MCWC members called on the legislature to reject Casperson’s proposed bill, and to update the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, public services and education.

“Anything less, only serves to place barriers between people, stifle creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future,” the member statement reads.  

Casperson’s legislation is expected to be introduced this month. 

To read the full statement, visit: https://goo.gl/hAQSzU.