Granholm’s recent order covers the state’s executive branch agencies with 55,000 employees or about 95% of all state workers, according to the Detroit Free Press. “This makes certain that in state government, we are leading by example and making certain that there is no discrimination, including based on sexual orientation,” said Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd.Federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, age, religion and gender, but it does not cover sexual orientation.
Not surprisingly, gay and lesbian advocacy groups hailed the governor’s decision. “We are overjoyed,” Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation, which advocates civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, told the Free Press. “The opportunities and protections this will afford gay, lesbian and bisexual people are direct reflections of the governor’s vision of an inclusive and fair Michigan . . . that appreciates and values all of its citizens.”
Likewise not surprising was the reaction of opponents who complained that Granholm is slowly moving toward legalizing gay marriage.
“This is simply the first step in a stepping stone strategy for legalizing homosexual marriage,” Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, told the newspaper. “The governor has timed this to deliver the payoff to homosexual groups that supported her election.”
Glenn said the measure could also lead to hard feelings against opponents. “We are concerned that this policy will lead to discrimination against state employees who dare disagree with the homosexual activist political agenda,” he said.
Granholm called for extending civil rights law protection to gays when she ran for governor in 2002. She also called for recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples.