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    Unity Michigan Faith Letter

    Dear Senator, We, the undersigned faith leaders who live and serve in your district, affirm that all people should be treated fairly and equally under the law, and that all people, including gay and transgender individuals, are children of God, deserving of love, dignity, and equal treatment. From a variety of religious traditions, with diverse approaches to spiritual life, we converge in a spirit of love and humility urging our elected officials to update the laws in Michigan so that every person in our state is protected from discrimination. We thank you for being a co-cosponsor and commend the Michigan democratic leadership for introducing HB 5804/SB1053, bills that would rectify the exclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Michiganders under our current nondiscrimination law, the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act. Furthermore, we support you and other legislators who would refuse to alter these bills or sign on to any other version that would negotiate away these basic protections for the most vulnerable Michiganders—transgender people—or add to the current religious protections of the Elliot Larson Law, essentially giving anyone a license to discriminate. As faith leaders serving the most vulnerable and the most harmed by injustice in Michigan, we cannot support any amendment that would only protect some and turn its back on the people we are called to serve the most. Transgender children of God are the most likely of the LGBT community to be victims of the forms of discrimination Elliott Larsen was created to protect against. We urge you to oppose any attempt to exclude gender identity and expression from an update to the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act. As faith leaders, it is precisely because we believe so deeply in the sanctity of our religious traditions and religious liberty that we stand against the use of these principles to condone prejudice, injustice and the unequal protection under our state laws. Opponents to an LGBT inclusive Elliott Larsen Act are seeking to go far beyond these protections to create dangerous loopholes to be used as a free pass to discriminate if someone claims a religious motivation. We urge you to oppose any attempt to add any religious exemption to an update of the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act. Michigan is one of 29 states where an individual can still be legally fired for being gay, despite the fact that a majority of people support making Michigan an equal opportunity state. Polls show that more than 70% of Michigan residents and nearly 75% of Americans support workplace equality. Additionally, more than 100 cities across America, including 30 in Michigan, have already passed and successfully implemented nondiscrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. As teachers and leaders in the faith community, we are obliged to counteract the culture of fear surrounding gay and transgender people with a culture of hope. We are called to be prophetic voices for all God’s children. We recognize the worth, dignity, and beauty of every human life, and we ask our elected officials to treat all people fairly and equally under the law.
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