Local businesses express outrage on social media after GR Chamber of Commerce endorses Schuette for governor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich-- A number of businesses in Grand Rapids have expressed disappointment on social media, after the Grand Rapids Chamber announced its endorsement of Bill Schuette as the state's next governor.

Many comments and posts against the endorsement, center around the republican candidate's formal opinion from July 2018 in regards to the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Schuette-the current State Attorney General- was asked to give his opinion, after the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted earlier in the year to expand the interpretation of the act to include protections from discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identification when it comes to things like housing and education.

In his opinion, Schuette said expanding the interpretation, which currently just uses the word sex, and also bans sexual harassment, would go beyond  the original intent of the Legislature.

It was an opinion that was met with much dismay from the LGBTQ Community and its supporters.

Among the businesses expressing outrage include Donkey Taqueria who posted on Facebook, expressing its disappointment in the endorsement, adding it would be ending its long-standing relationship with the Chamber of Commerce.

The company 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications also expressed disappointment on its Facebook page.

FOX 17 reached out to several local businesses about the endorsement, but none wanted to comment on camera Tuesday.

When asked about the endorsement, Chamber President, Rick Baker told FOX 17 while they don't agree with every candidate on every single issue, they try to align with those who can help Michigan's business sector.

"We have worked a lot the last few years with the current administration to make improvements in the business climate. We’re seeing the results of that. People are coming back to Michigan businesses are growing," said Baker.  "We want to continue that process and continue that forward movement, and policies that align with Schuette put us in that direction to keep us moving forward.”

The chamber also said it still supports the LGBTQ community.

“Our commitment to diversity inclusion is not wavering whatsoever, particularly around Elliot Larsen and the LGBT community.  We still are committed to moving that policy forward and making change for Michigan,” said Baker.

Baker said the Chamber welcomes the opportunity to talk with community members about the endorsement and any concerns they may have.

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11 comments

  • Kevin Rahe

    I am no longer involved with the Chamber of Commerce largely BECAUSE of its uncritical endorsement of the LGBT agenda. That said, I would have no problem supporting the expansion of Elliot-Larsen to include sexual orientation/gender identity as long as it’s clear that it only protects INDIVIDUALS, not necessarily acts and associations they (or anyone else) might freely choose to engage in.

  • Faye

    Media bias.- Its pretty obvious in how you presented this story. . I dislike how media tries to subtly push forward or detract from candidates it does or does not favor. We long for real news that doesn’t have an agenda. The bias really stood out in your reporting of this Chamber of Commerce decision. .When will news media stop being a machine, a tool, for politics? We can see bias and it makes us distrust your reporting. You seem to be subtly trying you whip up the negativity on this endorsement for your own purposes.

  • Vast RIght Wing Conspiracy

    There will be more outrage if Gretchen Whitmer wins and becomes Governor, she will just try to re-enact all the failed policies of Jenny GrandStand and Michigan can NOT afford another lost decade.

  • Not racist, not violent, but no longer silent

    It’s an endorsement for what’s best for the business sector – chamber of commerce – NOT LBGTABCNBCATTCNN etc..
    And did anyone else laugh when Bitchin’ Whitmer tried to be tough = “fix the damn roads!” lol

  • ZD

    I work in Human Resources for a large company in West Michigan that employs thousands of workers, and have had highly qualified engineers and skilled STEM candidates deselect from the hiring process because they perceive Michigan, and especially West Michigan, to be anti-LGBT. The chamber did not need to make an endorsement at all. Michigan does not have enough skilled workers, and if we want to advance our businesses to the 21st century, we need to appeal to the next generation of workers who are under 40 years old and have more socially progressive values. We don’t need tax and spend politicians, nor do we need those who exclude and ban others from fully participating in society. Until gay people have legal protection in employment, and cannot be fired for who they love, or be discriminated in their housing choices — both of which are still legal in Michigan — then we will continue to be a difficult place to bring talented upcoming people to work. This includes gay people, but also their straight family members, allies, and friends. Just my two cents. This is a step backwards.

  • Mac Woods

    “Outrage” is a word (along with “Hitler” and “Racist”) which has zero impact on anyone, because of its incessant use by the same crowd which has also beaten the meaning out of the other two words I noted.

  • C

    The Chamber of Commerce does a great deal for the Grand Rapids community as a whole. Those that benefit far outweigh the significance of a few companies that cater to a very narrow segment of the area’s population. I’m sure that the Chamber will do just fine without them.