LGBT rights ballot drive sues to cut signature requirement

Posted at 8:11 AM, May 27, 2020

A group organizing a ballot drive to add LGBT anti-discrimination protections to Michigan’s civil rights law sued the state Tuesday, saying coronavirus restrictions made it impossible to collect the 340,000 voter signatures needed.

Fair and Equal Michigan and two Democratic legislators filed the lawsuit in the state Court of Claims. It seeks an injunction reducing the signature requirement to roughly 127,000 signatures.

The suit also challenges deadlines by which signatures must be submitted and asks that signatures that already have been collected be able to count in future elections.

If the ballot committee is successful, the initiated bill would go to lawmakers and, because the Republican-led Legislature would likely not act, to a public vote in November.

The proposal would update the law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Religion-based discrimination, which already is barred, would be defined to include an individual’s “religious beliefs.”