Complaint filed against candidate over Down syndrome troupe

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan says a Republican candidate for Congress has discriminated against a troupe of drag performers with Down syndrome.

The civil rights group filed a complaint Thursday with the Michigan Civil Rights Department against Peter Meijer, one of several GOP candidates running to replace the newly declared independent Rep. Justin Amash. Meijer denied access to the U.K.-based Drag Syndrome for a performance in a Grand Rapids building he owns during a project affiliated with the international ArtPrize competition.

Meijer, grandson of Meijer Inc. supermarket chain founder Frederik Meijer, says he worried about exploiting the performers after consulting with advocacy groups. He adds he informed organizers last month.

ACLU-Michigan’s complaint says troupe members have the capacity to perform.

The Disability Drag Show takes place Saturday at another venue. The complaint seeks compensation for costs associated with arranging and booking alternative space.

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