The new year got off to a pretty good start for LGBT people in Wisconsin and Michigan as the governors of those states signed orders putting in place protections against discrimination for LGBT people.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order Monday, Jan. 7 — his first day in office — that requires state agencies to “develop and implement policies preventing discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” according to a report by Fox6Now.com.
Evers’ administration also plans to create “a model anti-discrimination policy,” Fox 6 reports, and “Evers is also calling for the state to put standard terms in contracts saying that the recipient can only hire on the basis of merit and they can’t discriminate.”
In Michigan, newly-elected Gov Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in state employment and by employers receiving state contracts and in grants from the state. It also prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination in providing state governmental services.
Whitmer announced the directive in a tweet: “Today at @GoAffirmations [Metro Detorit’s LGBT community center] in Ferndale, I signed ED 2019-9 focused on strengthening non-discrimination in state employment, contracting and services. This includes prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”
Texas’ 86th Legislature opens today (Tuesday, Jan. 8) in Austin with the swearing-in of the state’s senators and representatives — including an historic five openly-LGBT women. Dallas Voice’s senior staff writer, David Taffet, is in Austin and will be reporting back with news and photos from the day.
As of the end of last week, there were several LGBT-positive measures pre-filed for the legislative session, including comprehensive nondiscrimination measures, a bill calling for the Texas sodomy law — declared unconstitutional in 2004 — to be taken off the books and for a constitutional amendment repealing the 2002 amendment banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Texas. That amendment became obsolete in June 2015 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling for marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Despite the good news, there’s still plenty of time for right-wing lawmakers in Texas and elsewhere to launch legislative attacks on the LGBT community, as Samantha Allen notes in this article at TheDailyBeast.com, in which she notes the distinct possibility that some form of anti-trans bathroom bill will again make an appearance in the Texas Legislature.
(Special thanks to the Human Rights Campaign for the heads up on these events.)
— Tammye Nash