Protect the Michigan Civil Rights Commission

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In Michigan, we have had to create a patchwork of protection for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, because no state-wide protections exist under the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.  An important job facing the state’s Civil Rights Commission is the work of hearing the civil rights issues our LGBT citizens face and deciding how it is appropriate to include these civil rights issues under Elliott-Larsen.  It is important that the Civil Rights Commission be comprised of people who are able to fairly hear and decide this important issue. 

In Jackson, we had a twenty-year struggle to provide civil rights protections for our LGBT citizens.  A leading opponent to these protections was the Bishop Ira Combs.  His track record of working against the civil rights of LGBT people in our community and our state includes opposition to Jackson’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance, opposition to Jackson students’ legal right to for a gay-straight alliance group at the Jackson High School, and working actively against same-sex marriage in Michigan. 

Combs recently stated about LGBT people, “they’re not my focus because they’re not disadvantaged.”  Someone who already has his mind closed to the civil rights violations experienced by LGBT people is absolutely inappropriate for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

We call on Governor Snyder to revoke this appointment of Bishop Ira Combs to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, and appoint in his stead someone who is able to hear the civil rights cases of ALL of Michigan’s citizens.  We also call on all Michigan state senators to block this appointment. 

 The citizens of Michigan deserve a Civil Rights Commission that cares about ALL of our citizens’ civil rights.