Your Equality Minute

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but it’s a beautiful day here in mine. All the sunshine is making me think about rainbows! Stick a frilly umbrella in your beverage of choice and let’s talk about what’s going on in the fight for LGBT equality, shall we?

  • Earlier today State Sen. Rebekah Warren introduced a bill that would amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Michigan’s nondiscrimination laws. While the bill certainly faces a tough fight, now’s the time to a) write to Sen. Warren and thank her for her leadership on this issue, b) write to your senator and state representative and encourage them to cosponsor the bill, and c) give props to whoever came up with the slogan, “Equality for Michigan equals vitality for Michigan.” If you’re feeling particularly plucky, you may wish to write a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of the bill, or hang out in the comments section of your newspaper’s website and voice your support (disclaimer: Blogging for Michigan is not responsible for the damage to your sanity that will inevitably occur when visiting these comment sections).
  • Speaking of pro-equality milestones in state legislatures, yesterday the New Hampshire state House overwhelmingly killed a bill that would have repealed the state’s marriage equality law and replaced marriages with civil unions. This fight had been going on for months, and NH Gov. John Lynch had threatened to veto any repeal law that crossed his desk. Between the legislative passage of marriage equality in New York, Washington, Maryland and New Jersey (this one gets an asterisk), the defeat of repeal in New Hampshire and the Iowa State Senate’s continued refusal to ban same-sex marriage, we may actually be getting to the point where supporting marriage equality is no longer political napalm for state legislators. Let’s hope the Michigan state legislature is listening.
  • And finally, some caffeinated hilarity…if you enjoy watching Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage get their knickers in a twist, that is. When Washington Governor Christine Gregoire announced her intention to introduce marriage equality legislation, many prominent Washington-based companies publicly voiced their support for the legislation from the standpoint that they value their LGBT employees just as much as they do their straight ones. One such company was Seattle-based Starbucks. Starbucks held its annual shareholder meeting this week, and NOM decided to crash the party…but were informed in no uncertain terms (by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz himself) that their hatred was not welcome at Starbucks and they could get bent. In response, NOM has “declared war” on Starbucks and launched a website,, where you can find other places to get your caffeine fix without supporting Starbucks. For those of you who do make your caffeine-buying decisions based on this sort of thing, East Lansing-based local darling Biggby Coffee does not include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policy.

In any event, there’s your equality minute. If you read my long-winded babbling in under a minute, you should consider a career in auctioneering.

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  1. jpowers155 says:

    I wonder if Biggby’s lack of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their HR policies might be (at least initially) due to the fact that the company was started in East Lansing – the home of the nation’s oldest HRO (40!) that includes sexual orientation as a protected class in terms of housing and employment. Since Biggby (nee Beaners) was born 17 years ago and is still headquartered in East Lansing, they have to abide by those rules.

    I realize that this doesn’t address ongoing policies and practices but it might be part of the initial conversation. I’m thinking a well crafted email might just do the trick. Bob Fish is a nice guy and would probably welcome input on this.

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