Earlier this year, a coalition of pro-LGBTQ civil rights, business and political leaders launched a petition to expand Michigan law by including anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender residents. Fair and Equal Michigan was created on Tuesday, January 7th, with the goal to create a citizens' bill in the State Legislature after advocates collect 340,047 citizen signatures.
COVID-19 has presented an obvious challenge to that effort. But earlier this week, the coalition announced it would move its campaign moving forward by transitioning to an electronic signature collection strategy.
"To keep our supporters safe and to recognize the stay-at-home orders by the state, we are encouraging people to sign the petition for LGBTQ equality electronically during this unique moment," said Fair and Equal Michigan Co-Chair Trevor Thomas. "This transition to electronic signature collection will ensure Michigan voters can continue to participate in the democratic process and exercise their reserved constitutional right to initiate legislation while doing their part to stop the spread of coronavirus."
To sign the petition, supporters can simply visit the coalition's website at www.FairAndEqualMichigan.com. The process to sign one's name takes no more than three minutes. Supporters will need a valid Michigan driver's license or state identification card number in order to contribute their names.
Already, Fair and Equal Michigan has collected more than 150,000 signatures. The group has until May 27, the state mandated deadline, to reach the 340,047 valid signatures needed. The coalition plans to collect well more than that — 542,000 signatures by the deadline — for quality control purposes. Upon the submission of signatures, the Legislature will then have 40 days to adopt the initiative as written or send it for voters to decide in the November election.
If the ballot measure passes, Michigan would join 21 other states with laws that already prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.