LANSING — State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) and state Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) held a press conference today to announce legislation that would expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to protect Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Among the many colleagues joining them were also state Reps. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Tim Sneller (D-Burton).

“It’s extremely important that we takes steps now to modernize our civil rights legislation,” said Rep. Hoadley. “Uncertainty at the federal level means that we have a responsibility now to extend legal protections to any and all who find themselves targeted. This is a matter of fairness.”

“We are long overdue in updating ELCRA, and we cannot let fear or misinformation divide us as we work to secure these critical legal protections for all Michiganders,” said Sen. Warren. “It is time for us to move forward, as a society and a state, and to say in no uncertain terms that we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

Eighteen states already prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination. In Michigan, legislation to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act has been introduced in nearly every session since 1983. Similar legislation was introduced last session, however died once again along partisan lines.

“I’ve been stunned over the last several months that our nation’s leadership is turning away from the progress we’ve made on equality,” said Rep. Moss. “It’s important that Michigan proclaims that we are welcoming and inclusive, even when our national leaders fail to do so. Expanding this protection is a simple yet essential way to send that message.”

“As a veteran staff member, and now a representative, I have been proud over the years to see the many ways Michigan has been at the forefront of social progress,” said Rep. Sneller. “An extension of these protections for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends is a small but critical way to keep that tradition alive.”