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LGBTQ rights campaign goes to court to get on 2022 ballot

Hand holding rainbow LGBTQ flag
Stavrialena Gontzou

The campaign to add LGBTQ protections to Michigan’s civil rights law has appealed a court decision that stalled the petition drive. The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign filed its paperwork Monday with the state Court of Appeals.

The campaign argues the Michigan Board of State Canvassers and the Michigan Court of Claims used highly technical requirements to eliminate signatures from the sample the state used to find the initiative campaign fell short of the 340,047 signatures required. Also, the campaign says the state should have counted signatures that were gathered electronically during the COVID-19 crisis.

Josh Hovey with Fair and Equal Michigan says that’s not fair to the people who expected to be counted when they added their names to the effort to expand the civil rights law.

“The benefit of the doubt needs to go to the petition signer because that is what the courts and the state constitution require,” he said.

The campaign is not operating under a tight timeline because the earliest a question could appear on the ballot is November of 2022. Michigan’s initiative clause in the state constitution first sends a petition question to the Legislature and then to the ballot if lawmakers fail or refuse to adopt the question.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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