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Michigan governor signs LGBTI workplace protection directive before leaving office

Michigan governor signs LGBTI workplace protection directive before leaving office

Michigan governor Rick Snyder in 2016 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Days before leaving office, Michigan’s governor has signed a directive to protect against LGBTI discrimination.

The directive signed by Republican governor Rick Snyder states that companies seeking loans, grants or other contracts must agree not to discriminate against LGBTI employees.

Snyder announced the directive on Friday (28 December) after signing it the day before.

‘Michigan’s continued reinvention and economic growth depend on talented individuals choosing to live and work here,’ Snyder wrote.

‘It is essential for state government to be a leader in welcoming all people to our state and ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and with respect.’

Snyder has less than four days left in his tenure. He will be succeeded by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer on 1 January.

Although the directive is not binding on the state’s Attorney General or Secretary of State’s offices, Snyder encouraged both departments to comply with its conditions.

Dana Nessel, incoming Democrat Attorney General, will be the first openly gay statewide official in Michigan history, The Detroit News reports.

LGBTI rights in Michigan under Snyder

The progress of LGBTI rights in Michigan has been mixed during Snyder’s eight-year tenure as governor.

Synder pushed for the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976 to include anti-discrimination protection for LGBTI residents.

However, in 2015 he signed a controversial law which allowed faith-based adoption agencies to turn down same-sex couples looking to adopt on the basis of their sexuality.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling which legalized same-sex marriage, Synder was also involved in defending Michigan’s ban on marriage equality during several legal battles.

The governor will be remembered for being at the state’s helm during the water crisis in the town of Flint from 2014-2017, where thousands of people were forced to drink and bathe in bottled water due to contamination of the tap water supply.

Some Flint residents still do not have access to clean water.