In final days, Snyder issues LGBTQ rights executive directive

Susan J. Demas

Gov. Rick Snyder, who leaves office next week, announced today he signed an executive directive instructing all state agencies and departments not to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in procurement, grant and loan programs.

“Michigan’s continued reinvention and economic growth depend on talented individuals choosing to live and work here,” said Snyder, an Ann Arbor Republican who is concluding his second term. “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.”

Rick Snyder

The directive, 2018-7, was signed on Thursday. It states that all state departments and agencies that perform procurement functions and provide loans and grants to local units of government and private entities must not discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The goal, Snyder said, is to encourage all agencies and departments within state government to promote inclusive economic growth and to work in partnership to voluntarily comply with the provisions outlined in the directive.

Effective immediately, all contracts, grants, or loans entered into or modified after the effective date of this directive must comply with it, according to the measure.

“Together with our allies, we have worked diligently to educate Gov. Snyder and his administration on the common-sense necessity of equality for Michigan’s LGBTQ community,” said Equality Michigan Interim Executive Director Erin Knott. “We are happy to see the governor expanding and advancing the executive orders issued by [former] Gov. [Jennifer] Granholm in 2003 and 2007 to make it clear that Michigan does not stand for discrimination. This executive directive represents an important step forward in making Michigan a safe, fair and equal place for all of us, and we thank Gov. Snyder for taking it today.”

Snyder has been criticized for several of his LGBTQ policies over the years. In his first year of office, Snyder signed a ban on domestic partner benefits for public employees that was later overturned in court.

He also refused in 2014 to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Michigan. After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, Snyder issued a statement urging people to “respect” the decision. That was about a week after he signed a law allowing adoption agencies to refuse same-sex couples.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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