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Gov. Rick Snyder surprised some people Tuesday night when he brought up gay rights in his State of the State address. He stopped short of saying he wants to extend civil rights protections to gays and lesbians, but Snyder said he’d like the Legislature to continue the conversation this session.

“Let’s keep up that dialogue and let’s show that we can deal with issues of discrimination in our state,” Snyder said.

Efforts to expand Michigan’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act fizzled early last month in the lame-duck session, largely because Democrats and their supporters refused to support adding gays and lesbians without also including transgender individuals.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, a group of 60 businesses and organizations, worked hard last year to win GOP support for inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity into the civil rights law.

Now, despite the governor’s encouragement, it’s doubtful the matter will come up at all before an even more conservative group of lawmakers. House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, has made it clear he thinks this discussion has already taken place and isn’t interested in renewing it.

Lawmakers missed their chance to get this done.

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