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PNS Daily Newscast - September 18, 2018 


Kavanaugh now expected to meet his accuser at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. Also on the Tuesday rundown: An Albany rally calls for a million solar households; and #GetCaughtReading – a weeklong campaign for readers of all ages.

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50 Years of Civil Rights In MI: Legacy and Future

PHOTO: Optimism is growing among civil rights leaders in Michigan that lawmakers in Lansing will continue the state's civil rights legacy by introducing legislation to protect the rights of the state's LGBT citizens by the end of the year. Photo credit: M. Shand.
PHOTO: Optimism is growing among civil rights leaders in Michigan that lawmakers in Lansing will continue the state's civil rights legacy by introducing legislation to protect the rights of the state's LGBT citizens by the end of the year. Photo credit: M. Shand.
July 10, 2014

LANSING, Mich. - Independence Day isn't the only reason to celebrate in July. This month also marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. While Michigan was a civil rights pioneer, state leaders say much more work needs to be done.

According to Leslee Fritz, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, one year before the Civil Rights Act made discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin illegal, Michigan took the bold step of becoming the first state in the nation to create a civil rights commission.

"Many of us don't remember a world where individuals had to deal with signs in the window that said 'No Women Need Apply' or 'Whites Only,'" says Fritz. "That's not a world many of us grew up in."

Fritz says the Civil Rights Act laid the foundation for other protections, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Voting Rights Act. However, she says it's important to note Michigan still does not have LGBT rights and nondiscrimination protections in place.

In many ways, Fritz says the current debate over LGBT rights echoes the 1960s in terms of the core issue of how to achieve equality for a group of people in all aspects of life.

"Most people are surprised to hear that in Michigan today, it's still completely legal to fire a person, to deny them a job, to deny them an apartment, to turn them away from a hotel or a restaurant because of their perceived sexual orientation," says Fritz.

She adds momentum is growing for LGBT nondiscrimination legislation in Lansing among several groups, including many large employers and chambers of commerce. Fritz says these entities see the matter as an economic issue. She hopes to see an LGBT nondiscrimination bill introduced before the end of the year.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI