LGBTQ+ Pride flags | Susan J. Demas
A poll conducted this month shows that roughly three out of four likely Michigan voters support new legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.
The poll, conducted by the Chicago-based Glengariff Group just days before that legislation was introduced, found that 74% of those asked would either “strongly” or “somewhat” support “legislation that would expand [Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act] protections in Michigan to make it illegal to fire someone or deny them housing because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”
That includes about 70% of those who identify as “Lean GOP,” and almost 60% of those who identify as “Strong GOP.” The Democratic leaders who announced legislation to amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include such protections stated last week that they hope to obtain significant buy-in from their Republican counterparts.
Spokespersons for both Republican caucus leaders told the Advance last week that their positions against bringing the legislation up for a vote remain unchanged. But that may increasingly put them at odds with an electorate that has steadily liberalized on LGBTQ issues since the passage of a now-defunct 2004 Michigan amendment that banned same-sex marriage.
“When we really started looking at Elliott-Larsen in 2009, that’s when we really noticed that independents had come on board in a big way,” said Glengariff pollster Richard Czuba in a separate conversation with the Advance last week.
“Increasingly … Republicans support Elliott-Larsen’s passage,” Czuba said. “It is this very narrow band of what I would call older, white, Republican primary voters who have a disproportionate say in the conversation of stopping Elliott-Larsen’s expansion.”
The sample for Czuba’s new poll was comprised of 43% Democrats, 36% Republicans, and roughly 20% who identified as independent or “other.” 56% of the respondents were 50 years old or older.
Even among that group of voters, which is traditionally more socially conservative, almost 71% of those ages 50 to 64 said they would support expanding Elliott-Larsen, and 67% of those over the age of 65 said the same.
Similar majorities overall said they would support a ballot proposal to amend the act should the legislation fail, with almost 77% in favor and 17% opposed.
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