Jennifer V. Kurland, Michigan Green Party candidate for Governor, praised members of Michigan’s LGBTQIA community and their supporters for continuing pressure on Michigan’s elected leaders to include gender identity and sexual orientation in our state’s civil rights laws. Kurland also sharply criticized Attorney General Bill Schuette for overreaching his constitutional authority in issuing a “legal opinion” that claims Michigan law does not provide for the protection of the civil rights of LGBTQIA people.
“In May, Michigan’s Civil Rights Commission ruled that discrimination because of sex, which is prohibited by the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, also prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation,” Kurland said. “The Attorney General does not have the authority to determine what the law is. His job is to enforce the law.”
Kurland’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Charin H. Davenport, is herself a Transgender woman and a longtime advocate for the civil rights of marginalized segments of our population.
“The attorney general has a long history of opposing LGBTQIA rights in Michigan and he is using his position as attorney general in a heavily contested race for governor to garner votes,” Davenport said. “The attorney general’s opinion has no legal weight to it. Still, as a Transgender woman, I resent anyone using the civil rights of the 300,000 LGBTQIA adults living in Michigan as another political wedge to divide our state even more than it already is.”
The attorney general, who spent millions of taxpayer dollars in defending his opposition to Marriage Equality to the Supreme Court of the United States, has consistently opposed health care benefits for LGBTQIA couples, identity documentation for transgender people, and policies allowing same-sex couples to adopt. However, there is already a large body of Federal court rulings, including from the Sixth Court of Appeals covering Michigan, that discrimination against LGBTQIA people is sex discrimination.
“The Green Party of Michigan is an inclusive party and we believe very strongly in affirming diversity,” Kurland said, adding, “We stand for the same thing that the vast majority of Michiganders believe, which is that protecting every person’s right to fully participate in society is at the heart of our state government’s obligation to its people. To deny anyone, including those in the LGBTQIA community, such a fundamental right is wholly unacceptable.”