A battle over gay and lesbian legal protections is heating up.
Sixty-five local elected officials have signed a letter supporting a bill that would add sexual orientation to the state civil rights act.
Derek Dobies is a city councilman in Jackson. He says this is an economic issue for Michigan.
“Given Michigan’s brain drain," says Dobies, "we need to do everything that we can…both at the local level and at the state level that’s within our power…to put a welcome sign on Michigan.”
Jon Hoadley is the director of the Unity Michigan Coalition. He says its important to have the support of local leaders in this statewide fight.
“We have elected officials in Grand Rapids…Kalamazoo and Jackson," says Hoadley, "cities big and small across the state saying ‘we think that non-discrimination protections are good for us and they’re good for Michigan’.”
Eighteen cities in Michigan have local ordinances against discrimination against gays and lesbians.
There is a bill in the state House to nullify those local ordinances.