Anti-LGBTQ Bills Now Pending In State Legislature Need To Be Quashed, Say Opponents
Anti-LGBTQ bills are at it again in the State of Michigan, warned Saugatuck leaders and a concerned citizen during Monday’s council meeting.
Recent Republican-proposed legislation (SB 993 and HB 5717) essentially targets transgender people, restricting the use of bathroom and locker room facilities in schools and public buildings in accordance to a person’s “biological sex,” not the sex they identify with.
“Bills like this contribute to hate and misunderstanding,” noted concerned resident Glenna DeJong Monday night.
The Michigan proposals are much styled after North Carolina’s controversial HB2 bill, which among other things, bars transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity in schools and government agencies.
DeJong is calling on city officials to support and sign on to the organization Equality Michigan’s list of Michigan mayors opposing the bills, which over a dozen city leader across the state have already done so as of June 27.
“This council took a stand against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),” said Saugatuck Council Member Jeff Spangler, referring to past opposition by Saugatuck officials against another Republican initiative deemed highly discriminatory towards the LGBTQ community.
“It’s (opposing the SB 993 and HB 5717 ) something we should very much consider,” said Spangler. He and colleagues said they would discuss the matter further.
“SB 993 and HB 5717 are entirely unnecessary, dangerous, and discriminatory. Transgender people visit the restroom for the same reason as everyone else—to use it. And when they do, they want privacy, safety, and respect just live everyone else. The proposed bathroom inspection bills simply do not reflect who we are nor who we want to be as Michiganders,” states Equality Michigan’s opposition letter, signed by Nathan Triplett, Director of Public Policy and Political Action.
The state’s crumbling infrastructure, the Flint water crisis, Detroit Public Schools falling further into debt while under state control, and so on, ought to be the priorities of state legislators, not policing who uses public bathrooms, argue the opponents of the proposed bills.
So far reports indicate that at least SB 993 - the bill specifically telling transgender students what bathroom and locker room facilities they can use - is not a priority for Republican legislators, as comments by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, indicate.
The bill is now before the Michigan Senate’s Government Operations Committee, but no hearing dates have yet been scheduled by the state legislators.