LGBT rights groups in Michigan have declared a 100-day run of hunger strikes to protest the state’s lack of LGBT rights legislation.
The groups, hosted by Affirmations in Ferndale, aim to draw attention to the fact the state has no LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance and grants no domestic partnership rights by taking it in turns to fast for 24 hours.
All LGBT Community Centers throughout the state of Michigan join together to protest Michiganís extreme anti-equality environment, by declaring a 100-day hunger strike, exactly 100 days before the general election. †The Community Centers Network (CCN), consisting of eight lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Michigan community centers, is organizing this demonstration to protest the extreme anti-equality environment in Michigan.†Top leadership from every community center will serve a solid 24 hour block of time, living on display in the front windows of Affirmations, Michiganís largest LGBT community center, on 9 Mile Road, in the heart of downtown Ferndale. Shifts run from 9:00am-9:00am.
The purpose of the strike is not necessarily to change any laws yet, but is being used as an opportunity to educate straight allies who may not have in fact known that Michigan is so hostile to LGBT rights.
“We’re trying to educate our straight allies about the extreme anti-equality environment in this state,” said David Garcia, executive director of Affirmations in Ferndale, which will host the hunger strike.
“One could argue that Michigan is the Mississippi of the civil rights movement when it comes to gay equality. We are constantly behind on many issues, and many people don’t know it.”
“When the majority of the community knows, they get angry,” Garcia said. “And then we’re going to let them know how they can help.”
The campaign also reportedly aims to educate the voting public on anti-gay lawmakers and legislation. In particular, it will also highlight a bill, signed last year by Governor†Rick Snyder, that retired taxpayer-funded health insurance benefits for domestic partners of municipal employees.
Michigan carries a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex couples are also expressly forbidden from adopting children.
Michigan also lacks statewide LGBT rights protections, meaning it still can be legal to fire someone on grounds of their sexuality or gender identity.