Our Freedoms

We in Michigan once had some of the strongest civil rights protections in the country in the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, but we’ve fallen behind. We’ve got to show up for each other’s fights so that every Michigander, no matter where they come from, who they love, how they identify, or what their faith is, has the same opportunities to be successful and we cannot stop until they do. That means ensuring equity in employment, opportunity, schools, and safety for all people. We are still fighting for fundamental rights when people in our state can be denied housing or terminated from employment for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We will build justice in Michigan by:

  • Expanding the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Year after year, in the Senate and as a private citizen, I pushed to expand our civil rights laws to include people of all genders, identities, and sexual orientations. We drew the line when lawmakers tried to exclude transgender people from our civil rights laws. And I fought for same-sex adoptions and domestic partner benefits.

  • Promoting universal voter access, because it is too hard to register and to vote in Michigan, and as a result, fewer people do it. Everyone who applies for a driver’s license or state ID should be automatically registered to vote, and any registered voters should be able to vote absentee or by mail. As a legislator, I fought to ensure valid ballots from our service members overseas were counted, to prevent voters from being turned away at the polls, and to allow same-day voter registration.

  • Level the playing field in our criminal justice system so that the amount of money in your bank account does not determine the level of justice you receive. As Ingham County Prosecutor, I prioritized rehabilitation programs for nonviolent, first-time offenders to save resources, reduce overcrowding in prisons, and most importantly, to give people a second chance.

  • Ban the box so that fair hiring practices prevent disparities in our criminal justice system from keeping people out of the labor pool. Ending this discriminatory practice will put thousands of women and men back into stable, good-paying jobs.

  • Refuse to allow bullying on the grounds of religion. It’s a false choice to say that we can’t have religious freedom while still respecting one another. I’m proud of the work I did to protect our kids in schools with Matt’s Safe Schools law, but we have much more work to do.

  • Making government smarter and more effective by empowering a diverse set of voices in the cabinet, appointments, and throughout state government. That means creating an Equity Officer in the Governor’s office and empowering the Department of Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Commission.