'Full steam ahead' on gay rights petition drive in Michigan

The strangest things happen in this business when a usually reliable source suggests one thing, but once you check it out, you discover quite another.

Which is why LGBT advocate and lawyer Dana Nessel is wondering if some are trying to "sabotage" a proposed statewide petition drive to expand the state's civil rights act to include the gay community.

"We are full steam ahead. I won't talk to anybody about stopping" this effort, she asserts.

And to underscore the point she reveals within "the next week or two" her group will file language with the state to clear the way for the petition drive launch aimed at a November 2016 vote.

Equality Michigan, one of the key players in this debate, has not endorsed the petition drive and the Transgender Advocacy Project for the ACLU of Michigan points to what happened in Houston as reason enough not to move forward at this time.

In Houston, the campaign for a local gay rights ordinance degenerated into an ugly and "scare tactic"campaign that failed.

"We are not Houston," Ms. Nessel explains. "That was an awful campaign. One of the worst run campaigns." She pledges something completely different.

There are some concerns over the "bathroom issue." More directly, where do transgender persons go?

Rep.Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) believes it is a phony issue raised by those who seek to defeat this proposal.

Attorney Nessel contends the typical citizen does not worry about this and the issue "does not drive the polling numbers down." Others are not so sure. So clearly there is a division on this and the petition drive itself.

Ms. Nessel expects to pick up endorsements from the business community, law enforcement, Democrats and Republicans and maybe a blessing or neutrality from "those you might not expect" she speculates.

So voters brace yourself for another debate over gay rights and if the drive is successful, you'll have the final say in this matter which is exactly what concerns some in the movement who wonder, "What if the voters say no?"