You can’t put a price tag on ending discrimination

Categories: News,Steven Johnson News

By state Rep. Steven Johnson, of Wayland

The State of Michigan made a costly mistake decades ago by allowing discrimination in instances where people are retrieving their vital records.

We all have our fair share of experiences at the county clerk’s office– some positive, some negative – but, just imagine having to pay more for your birth certificate just because of the circumstances in which you were born. Unfortunately for some, this is a reality.

In Michigan, anyone born before October 1, 1978 to unmarried parents does not have their birth certificate on file at their county clerk’s office. As a result of this troublesome discrimination, these individuals have a more cumbersome process of retrieving their vital records from the state.

This ultimately costs them more time and frequently triples the expense to receive their birth certificate – all because of factors simply out of their control.

You can’t put a price tag on ending discrimination. That is why I authored bipartisan legislation to ensure all Michiganders are charged the same amount as other people in their county to receive a copy of their birth certificate – regardless of the marital status of their parents when they were born.

There’s no justification for why this immoral, unequal treatment could happen in the first place – let alone continue for decades. My plan, House Bill 4152, ends Michigan’s reign of profiting off this discriminatory practice and brings our state back to equality with a common-sense approach.

Everyone deserves fair treatment under the laws enforced in this state, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Michigan Legislature to get this measure of ending birth certificate injustice over the finish line.