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Common sense should prevail in state proposal

Now in 2020, we are offically five years beyond the events of the 1989 film by Robert Zemeckis, “Back to the Future Part II.” As you may recall, this is the one where Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) uses the DeLorean to time travel to 2015.

Zemeckis used his imagination to create a futuristic look at Hill Valley on the big screen, doing his best to imagine what life might be like 26 years after the film’s release.

Well, five years later, we still don’t have flying cars, or hover boards, or hologram movie theaters — but to be honest, when Zemeckis was creating the screenplay for his sequel, we believe the “Back to the Future Part II” director would probably be shocked by some of the things people are still having to fight for in 2020.

A Wednesday article by The Associated Press said Fair and Equal Michigan, a committee backed by business, political and philanthropic leaders, has launched a 2020 ballot initiative to expand Michigan’s civil rights law to include anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, a step that would put the issue to voters if the Legislature does not pass the measure.

The group has submitted petition language to the Board of State Canvassers. Once approved, Fair and Equal Michigan would have until late May to collect the roughly 340,000 valid voter signatures needed to place the initiated bill before lawmakers.

If legislators do not adopt the legislation, the initiative would go to a statewide vote in November.

“This coalition of Michigan citizens has support across LGBTQ groups, the business and philanthropic sectors, and both sides of the political aisle.

There is more that brings us together than forces us apart,” said Mel Larsen, a former Republican lawmaker who co-sponsored the 1976 civil rights act.

The proposal would update the law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Religion-based discrimination, which already is barred, would be defined to include an individual’s “religious beliefs.”

The article added that 21 states prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity while another — Wisconsin — bars discrimination against gays and lesbians but not transgender people, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ rights organization.

Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott praised the 2020 ballot initiative.

“Given the Legislature’s inaction, Equality Michigan supports the work of individual citizens to initiate legislation that will right this wrong once and for all,” she said.

We believe this ballot initiative is a given, and that this issue should have been addressed ages ago.

Every one of us should be legally entitled to a fair shot at employment, and the decision should be based solely on one thing and one thing only — which candidate is the most qualified.

That is just common sense, not a political issue and not some futuristic viewpoint.

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