Rev. Ruth D. Fitzgerald has deep roots in Michigan and in its political history. Her late husband served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives, and her father-in-law served as Governor in the 1930s. Despite generational connections to Michigan, however, her daughter remains unprotected by the state. Shortly after the death of her husband, Frank Fitzgerald, their daughter came out as gay – and Ruth turned to her faith to better understand and embrace her daughter.
Now, Rev. Fitzgerald wishes her home state of Michigan would embrace her daughter, too, by establishing LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. This is why she joined hands with other faith leaders and laypeople to meet with their members of Congress in 2019 – to make their stories known and speak up for their community, including Michigan resident Aimee Stephens, whose case of anti-transgender employment discrimination reached the U.S. Supreme Court that year.
“My daughter now lives in Massachusetts, and she and her wife have said that they are unlikely to return to Michigan because of our state’s lack of express and enduring nondiscrimination protections,” Rev. Fitzgerald wrote. “Michigan is so very important to me. Our family has devoted so much to protecting the people of Michigan — and yet, my own daughter continues to go unprotected in the state. … This is about people like Aimee Stephens, whose careers were unfairly interrupted after they shared their authentic selves. It’s about my daughter, her wife, and their newborn child, who don’t feel safe returning to Michigan, and residing in this state I love, because of our lack of protections. And it’s about sending an affirming message that all people — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — are welcome here.”