Small Biz 4 Equality is a coalition of West Michigan small businesses whose mission is to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include explicit protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in Michigan housing, education, employment, and public accommodations.
Elliot-Larsen, also known as Public Act 453 of 1976, prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status. Though the fight to include expansion for sexual orientation and gender identity began decades ago, these communities still remain exposed to discrimination. Michigan is one of 29 states that lack civil rights protection for these groups.
New bills have been introduced this legislative session (4688 in the Michigan House and 351 in the Michigan Senate) that, if passed, would fix this. Small Biz 4 Equality believes that when Michigan’s businesses speak in an overwhelming voice about the importance of employment equality, we can hasten the passage of these bills and reduce the days our employees need to wait for equality in the plain language of the law.
It’s not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” said Andy Johnston, vice president of government and corporate affairs with the Grand Rapids Chamber and Small Biz 4 Equality member. “We believe everyone deserves the right to show up as a whole person in all aspects of their life. Inclusivity is vital for Michigan to remain competitive when it comes to Michigan attracting and retaining top talent.