Fresh off of taking their respective oaths of office, the now seated governors of Michigan and Wisconsin signed, on Monday, executive orders barring anti-LGBT discrimination in state government.

 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive directive, ED 2019-9, prohibits LGBTQ discrimination in state employment by employers receiving contracts and in grants from the state. The directive, which goes into effect immediately, also prohibits LGBTQ discrimination in the provision of state governmental services.

 

Last year, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted to interpret discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as a form of sex discrimination. Michigan is one of 31 states that currently lack fully inclusive, comprehensive statewide non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community.

 

"Elections matter. In one of her first actions as governor, pro-equality champion Gretchen Whitmer has extended long overdue non-discrimination protections to members of the LGBTQ community,” said Human Rights Campaign Michigan State Director Amritha Venkataraman. “We were proud to turn out the pro-equality vote on Governor Whitmer’s behalf in November and we thank Equality Michigan for their ongoing work to safeguard these protections in cities and communities across the Great Lake State. These executive actions are an important step forward in the fight against discrimination, but there’s more work to be done. It is far past time that the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is expanded to explicitly include protections for the LGBTQ community, so that every Michigander -- no matter who they are or whom they love -- can live their lives without fear of discrimination.”

 

Also signed on Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity against state employees.

 

Wisconsin is one of 28 states without explicit non-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity. State Representatives Mark Spreitzer and JoCasta Zamarripa and Senator Tim Carpenter have introduced the Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would add gender identity and expression to Wisconsin’s pre-existing nondiscrimination protections, including in employment, housing, public spaces, and education.

 

“Discrimination in any form is wrong, and through his actions today -- signing his first executive order since taking office -- Governor Evers continues to demonstrate that he will fight day in and day out to uphold the Wisconsin values of fairness, justice and equality,” said Human Rights Campaign Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “We were proud to turn out LGBTQ voters in November to help elect Evers, and thank Fair Wisconsin for their ongoing work to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination across our state. We look forward to working with the Evers Administration and Fair Wisconsin to pass legislation that will finally safeguard protections for transgender Wisconsinites, who are still denied basic and explicit protections from discrimination in the workplace, housing and public spaces.”

 

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