LGBT Petition Drive Wants Reduced Signature Requirements
The State of Michigan is being sued by leaders of a ballot drive to add LGBT anti-discrimination protections to state law. The leaders point to problems since the COVID-19 outbreak as the primary problem. They’re having a hard time collecting the required signatures of Michigan voters to be eligible for a statewide vote on the issue this fall. The initiative needs 340 thousand signatures. The group so far has about 178,000. It projects around 135,000 of those to be valid. So it’s way off the mark. The fix, get the State Court of Claims to agree to reduce the signature requirement to less than 40% of what is now required, down to around 127,000. Two Democratic state lawmakers and the group Fair and Equal Michigan have initiated the lawsuit. Along with requesting the reduced number of signatures required, they want more time than normal to submit their signature files.
One of the initiative leaders says the group was moving along well with about 100,000 in hand in the first few weeks. But once the virus outbreak led to the shutdown orders from the governor, people became a bit more skeptical and edgy toward volunteers gathering signatures. Even door to door canvassing didn’t get much response. An attorney for the Plaintiffs claims the court should make an exception for the group since the impact of the virus has been exceptional and damaging the effort to change state law. The ballot initiative according to supporters would strengthen state law to prohibit discrimination based on gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, housing, and public accommodations. Discrimination based on religion is already unlawful, and the new language would change the definition to “religious beliefs.”
Michigan Congressional candidates have already won a case lowering requirements for their election bids. The LGBT group believes that can only help their case.