LANSING, Mich. — Anti-LGBT discrimination is destructive to Michigan’s economy, according to a report released Friday by the state’s Department of Civil Rights.
The year-long research project, which was sponsored by the TIDES Foundation, tells the shocking and compelling stories from LGBT individuals across Michigan who have faced discrimination in the workplace, schools, and housing.
The report concludes that there is indisputable evidence of alarming rates of LGBT discrimination in the state, and outlines the negative economic impact discrimination is having not only on LGBT residents, but also on employers and students in Michigan.
Among them is a recommendation which encourages the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to publicly support expansion of federal, state, and local laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Michigan’s existing anti-discrimination law, known as the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Law, was passed in 1977, the same year the Commission made a public recommendation to include LGBT people among the many existing populations specifically protected by the law.
Other recommendations provided the Commission with opportunities to promote economic recovery, increase LGBT outreach, and encourages them to oppose laws that restrict LGBT rights.
The report concluded that these measures were not only supported by Michigan citizens, but that an even larger number thought incorrectly that they were already in place.
MDCR officials stressed that they didn’t conduct the research to change local views on same-sex relationships or to address moral and religious issues, and that they simply wanted to review whether public policy makers should consider how LGBT-inclusive legislation and policies affect the economy.
“The purpose of this report is not to take sides on or even address the moral and religious issues related to homosexuality. Similarly, we did not intend to, and we have not endeavored to, create a document with the purpose of changing views on homosexuality. The Department recognizes and respects the rights of individuals to hold their own opinions, especially where moral, spiritual or religious beliefs are involved.”
Emily Dievendorf, Director of Policy for Equality Michigan, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, applauded the department’s report, calling it “courageous” and “compelling.”
“It is also gratifying that the report so eloquently pointed out the broader economic impact on not just the LGBT communities, but the entire state. The report finds that Michigan voters not only support an end to this inequality and hindrance on our economic recovery, but believed that the measures to address this problem were already in place,” said Dievendorf.
The 124-page report can be read here.