Michigan governor urges debate on protecting gays from discrimination

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder is urging the Republican-led Legislature to keep alive a bill that would amend Michigan‘s civil rights law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)

The legislation stalled last year. But in Tuesday night’s State of the State speech, the Republican governor called for lawmakers to continue the debate and “show that we can deal with issues of discrimination.”

Snyder typically stops short of urging passage of the bill. But his previous calls for debate have seen as a positive sign and have encouraged gay rights advocates and business groups that say it’s time to update legal protections.

Snyder told The Associated Press there’s still an “opportunity to hopefully do something.” Democrats say they wish Snyder had taken a bolder stand on the issue in his address.

Emily Dievendorf, Executive Director of Equality Michigan, a statewide advocacy group, said she appreciates Snyder’s renewed call for a civil and respectful conversation on a fully-inclusive update to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

“If such talks are successful, modernizing Michigan’s anti-discrimination law would have a far-reaching positive impact on the Governor’s entire agenda for a more prosperous Michigan,” said Dievendorf.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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