Chatfield quits economic development group over opposition to LGBT rights law

Feb 22, 2021

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Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield is out as the CEO of a Kalamazoo-area economic development organization. The former Republican leader quit amid controversy over his opposition to adding LGBTQ protections to the state civil rights law.

Southwest Michigan First is made up of businesses, education and not-for-profit groups. Some members threatened to leave the organization based largely on Chatfield’s record against expanding the state’s civil rights law.
Erin Knott is a Kalamazoo city commissioner and the director of Equality Michigan. She said this episode sends a message.

“You need to do right by the LGBT community or you won’t get hired post your legislative service.”

A Democratic lawmaker will re-introduce a bill to expand the civil rights law and will challenge Republicans to hold hearings and adopt the bill.