LGBT Issues at MSUjenshangraw | September 30, 2013
The University’s recognition of many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights and benefits is something often taken for granted at MSU. MSU’s autonomy within the Michigan Constitution and the support of the senior university administration and labor community have helped keep our institution ahead of the curve in respecting the dignity, safety and equality of the university’s LGBT employees and students. However, the fight for full rights for those persecuted for whom they love still wages on within the United States, State of Michigan, and MSU. Michigan remains one of the most restrictive states in the country for LGBT rights, and lacks protections against hate crimes and discrimination in housing and employment at the state level.
The recent Supreme Court ruling invalidating key sections of the 1996 DOMA law and subsequent rulings by the Defense Department, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs, and Labor Department recognizing legally married same-sex relationships at the federal level have signaled an important advancement in LGBT rights in the US. Closer to home, a June ruling from U.S. District Judge David S. Lawson granted an injunction preventing Gov. Rick Snyder and state officials from enforcing the 2011 law prohibiting cities, counties and other public employers from offering benefits to same-sex domestic partners. The injunction cited animus as a principle motivator in passage of the law.
The Administrative Professional Association, MSU Coalition of Labor Organizations and the MSU LGBT Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student Association (GLFSA) continue to advocate for the equal treatment of LGBT employees at MSU and within the state and country. While many rights and benefits are protected contractually for LGBT APA members, the union continues to advocate for equal treatment in disparate areas such as Course Fee Courtesy benefits for spouses, children, and dependents. The ability to take bereavement leave for the death of a registered OEI partner was added in the 2011 APA Contract, but the University still does not grant most other labor groups this simple dignity. Other issues such as improving University run new employee orientation programs, benefits for same-sex married retirees, and tax implications with regard to the new rulings continue to be addressed.
If an APA member believes they are facing discrimination or harassment in the workplace for being LGBT or perceived as LGBT, they are encouraged to contact the APA office at 517-353-4898.
For more and ongoing information regarding LGBT issues at MSU, members are also encouraged to contact the APA at the information below and/or to join the MSU LBGT Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student Association (GLFSA). GLFSA will be hosting a domestic partner financial planning dinner on October 15 and a professional networking event on November 6.