As many Michiganders’ mail-in ballots are starting to arrive and election day is fast approaching, we wanted to share some of your local candidates’ stances on LGBTQ+ policy issues. We asked candidates on the federal, state, and local levels to answer questions pertaining to key issues of importance to LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. Candidates were given six weeks to respond to the questionnaire and were contacted by phone and email multiple times by our team of dedicated volunteers.

The 2020 candidate questionnaire reads as follows:

  1. Knowing that the recent Title VII decision from the Supreme Court only covers workplace discrimination, would you support an amendment to the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protections from discrimination for the Michigan LGBTQ+ community?
  2. Michigan’s hate crime law currently covers violence and threats based on race, color, religion, and gender. Would you support the enactment of a hate crime law that would also address hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people to the same extent as the current Ethnic Intimidation Code within Michigan’s Penal Code?
  3. Would you support a religious freedom law or any similar efforts that provide opportunities for people, businesses, non-profits, et al., to deny services, sales, and/or goods to LGBTQ+ people? 
  1. While Michiganders wait for the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a number of Michigan municipalities have passed their own ordinances to protect their LGBTQ+ citzens from discrimination.
    1. Will you recognize and support non-discrimination ordinances already established in our area, in the towns of St. Joseph and Buchanan?
    2. Would you continue to support the expansion of ordinances that would make discrimination in public accomidations against LGBTQ+ people unlawful in municipalities in Berrien, Cass, and/or Van Buren counties (the OutCenter’s service area)?
  2. Understanding that reparative/conversion therapy have been discredited by every mainstream medical and mental health organizations for decades and proven to target and cause serious harm to LGBTQ+ youth, would you support banning reparative and/or conversion therapy in the State of Michigan? In municipalities in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties?
  3. Do you support the Michigan’s State Board of Education and Michigan Department of Education’s approved recommendations and guidance for schools in Michigan, with the goal to establish safe and supportive learning environments for LGBTQ+ and questioning students, in schools in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties? And, if so, would you support these recommendations becoming mandatory?
  4. Would you fight any attempt to ”water down” a bill giving the LGBTQ+ community rights by those who add riders (e.g. religious rights) that realistically negate LGBTQ+ rights?
  5. Given the recent federal administration’s lack of support of transgender affirming healthcare, will you support legislation to protect trans individuals’ healthcare?
  6. Understanding the recent federal court decision in Buck v Gordon and the importance of safe foster and adoptive homes in our state, would you support legislation that prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals attempting to adopt children through services that are funded (partially or fully) by the state of Michigan?

To view the candidates’ full responses, download and view the PDF below.

We want to extend a wholehearted thank you to all of the candidates who responded to this important questionnaire. Your transparency and participation mean a lot to your constituents.

Michiganders, now that you are informed on your candidates stances on key LGBTQ+ policy issues, go out and vote! Whether you vote from home or make an appearance at the polls, your vote is your voice.

To support the OutCenter in political, educational, and advocacy work, please consider donating here.

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