As Eclectablog points out here, Michigan Republicans have recently introduced measures to prohibit local civil rights protections from being more expansive than those of the state.
The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.
Essentially the bill will take away local control on equality and civil rights initiatives.
Which is an interesting addition to the bill floated by Senator Rick Jones earlier this year. From Susan Demas,
Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) came up with an idea that was supposed to make the anti-gay crowd happy. His bill this session only requires schools to come up with their own anti-bullying policies. They get to determine what it says and what’s considered bullying.
Demas goes on to say that many MI Republicans still hate the bill because “it takes away local control.”
If they can pass McMillin’s bill AND delay an anti-bullying policy long enough, the schools will not be allowed to write anti-bullying policies that address sexual orientation and gender identity. There may be lawsuits, but the reality on the ground is that most public schools aren’t going to legally challenge an already hostile MI GOP. The gay kids just aren’t that important. That’s not me being cynical, that’s the just the reality. When you are an administrator or an elected school board trying to hold your severely de-funded school together, are you going to take on a fight for a small percentage of kids who are likely to never tell you they were beat up because they are gay? Or are you going to keep your head down and hope for the best?
Finally, an anti-bullying strategy the Republicans can (secretly) get behind.