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Democratic state lawmakers decry anti-LGBTQ sentiment among some in Legislature

LGBT flag.
Guillaume Paumier

Some Democratic Michigan lawmakers are discussing the challenges they’ve faced advocating for the LGBTQ community in the state Legislature.

The House of Representatives approved a “Pride Week” resolution Tuesday.

Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) gave credit to Republican leadership for helping get it passed. But she said opposition during the voice vote was discouraging.

“There were some very, very, very visceral nays. And I know that sounds so pedestrian and so not important. But I really want to stress how unusual that is. That is reserved for, you know, very polarizing topics. Usually, frankly, political stunts,” Pohutsky told reporters during a press Zoom call Wednesday morning.

Earlier this month, a “Pride Month” resolution failed to gain a floor vote in the state Senate despite having passed last year.

Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) sponsored that resolution. He said there have been attacks against the LGBTQ community in his chamber that would not have flown in other work settings.

“And our HR director in the Senate is essentially the Senate Majority Leader who has demonstrated what he feels about the community. So, who would want to work in that type of atmosphere? We will lose civil servants in the State of Michigan,” Moss said.

Instead of being allowed a floor vote, Senate leadership sent Moss’ resolution to the Government Operations Committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). It last met in October of last year.

Democrats accuse Shirkey of wanting amendments to the resolution that would have changed the spirit of it.

“They moved the goal post. You want a change? Well, why did you adopt it last year and not adopt the same thing you adopted last year similar to what we just did in the House?” Representative Tim Sneller (D-Burton), who sponsored the House resolution, said.

Communications staff for Shirkey did not respond to a request for comment.

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