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Poll: Majority of Michigan residents favor discrimination protection for LGBT community

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According to a recent survey conducted by Lansing based research-survey firm EPIC-MRA, nearly 7-10 Michigan residents favor protection against discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as Democrat lawmakers in Michigan introduced legislation this week to expand the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The law already provides civil rights protections against discrimination based on a person’s defining characteristics like religion or race, however, sexual orientation and gender identity are not included. 

Democrats last year attempted the same amendment to the law but couldn’t get it through a Republican controlled legislature. 

Larry DeShane is the Operations Manager at Grand Rapids Pride Center. He says while the LGBT community in Grand Rapids has made significant strides in the past few years, the need for safe places for LGBT youths continues to be a necessity.

“We’re still looking over our shoulder," DeShane said. "Even though there is more acceptance, we are still looking over our shoulder to make sure we are okay, so a safe place gives us a chance to exhale.”

including sexual orientation and gender identity in the Elliot Larson Civil Rights act. While 86 percent of Michigan Democrats favored the legislation, the statewide survey found that only 51 percent of Republicans did.

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