Opposition high to GOP bills preempting local municipalities from creating inclusive communities
MILWAUKEE — In a new survey commissioned by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber and conducted by Public Policy Polling, nearly two-thirds of Wisconsinites voiced their support for updating Wisconsin’s 1982 non-discrimination law to protect the transgender community.
“The people of Wisconsin believe strongly that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Jason Rae, President & CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber.
This poll was conducted in light of an effort by Republicans in the State Legislature, pushed by groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, to prevent local communities from passing their own ordinances that would protect the transgender community from discrimination in employment.
Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to pass a law protecting against discrimination in 1982 based on sexual orientation. This historic law prevented someone from being denied employment, housing, or access to public accommodations because of being gay, lesbian or bisexual. However, that statewide law does not include protections from discrimination based gender identity and expression, meaning that transgender people can still be legally fired, denied housing, or more just because of who they are.
“Many municipalities throughout Wisconsin stepped up to the plate when the state wouldn’t to ensure that all LGBT people are fully protected in their communities,” said Rae. “These communities – ranging from Milwaukee to Madison, De Pere to Appleton – know that in order to compete in today’s global economy, we must create fully welcoming & inclusive communities.”
Assembly Bill 748 and Senate Bill 634 would preempt these local ordinances and make Wisconsin one of the most hostile state’s for the LGBT community. Communities that have made the important leap forward in prohibiting discrimination for the transgender community would find their laws null and void.
The survey released today shows that of those with an opinion on the bills, nearly 2-to-1 oppose this anti-LGBT effort in the Legislature.
“Instead of trying to prevent local municipalities from building inclusive communities, which Wisconsinites are opposed to, our legislators should be working to amend our statewide non-discrimination laws to fully protect the LGBT community,” said Rae. “This is something that nearly two-thirds of people in the state agree with.”
These results mirror a poll commissioned by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber that was released in November 2017. That poll found a similar percentage also supported updating the state’s law.
“We’ve seen Wisconsinites twice voice the exact same opinion – discrimination against LGBT people is wrong and its time for our state to take the step forward and pass a fully inclusive statewide non-discrimination ordinance,” added Rae.
A complete version of the results of the survey is here.
The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and LGBT-allied businesses, corporations and professionals throughout the state of Wisconsin. It offers networking opportunities, business development efforts within the LGBT community, and educational programming to its members. The organization has more than 500 members from around the state. In 2015, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce received the National Chamber of the Year Award from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). More information can be found online at: www.wislgbtchamber.com.