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US: New LGBT anti-discrimination law proposed in Michigan

Anastasia Kyriacou September 26, 2014

New legislation which would outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination has been proposed this week in the US state of Michigan.

On Wednesday, Republican Brandon Dillon of D-Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced new legislation with the recommendation that LGBT residents should be encompassed in the Ethnic Intimidation Statue.

The organisation Equality Michigan says the state is one of 18 which do not include sexual orientation in their hate crime laws and one of 22 states that do not include gender identity or gender expression. The Ethnic Intimidation Statue protects people against crimes based on their race, colour, religion, gender, or national origin.

The proposition to reform the law, comes after a series of violent, some fatal attacks on members of the LGBT community. A 28 year old lesbian was badly assaulted last April, just days after she got married to another woman on the one day that same-sex marriage was legal in Michigan. Dillon also asserted the recent shootings targeting transgender victims. He said,

“These are efforts to not just harm an individual, they’re meant to send a message to the entire community,” Dillon told MLive. “And when those messages become prevalent, we have a responsibility to send a message back.”

The Republican’s proposed legislation has been introduced with 37 Democratic co-sponsors in the Republican-led House. It would update the hate crime law to cover age, physical disability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

An initial attempt to extend the law to include LGBT people was made in 1997.

According to Michigan Legislature’s Journal of the House, opposition to expanding the statute say it marks lesbians and gays as special class citizens and places hate crimes against the LGBT community as more serious than those against heterosexuals.

The Republican-led legislation comes at a time when a large coalition of employers are advocating change as they are seeking to make Michigan a more inviting place for all kinds of talented workers.

More: Hate crime, lgbt community, Michigan, Republican, US

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