LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan legislators have passed expansions to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is a 1977 Michigan law that prohibits discrimination against religion, race, national origin, sex, weight and height, familial status or marital status in housing, education, and public spaces. The expansions would add sexual orientation and gender expression as protected categories. Democrats have been advocating for the expansion for years.
All Democrats voted yes, joined by eight Republicans, to pass the expansion in the state House Wednesday.
The bill is headed to the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, where it is expected to be signed.
“Every Michigander deserves to be treated with dignity and respect under the law. I’ve been calling for changes to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to strengthen legal protections for our LGBTQ+ community for years, and I am proud that we are finally getting it done,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“Our vision for Michigan must be inclusive and big enough for everyone to thrive. With this amendment of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, we are taking long-overdue action to help ensure full civil rights protections for Michiganders, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. Let us build on this progress and continue our work to create a more equitable and prosperous Michigan,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist stated.
“LGBTQ people — like all people — deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to live life free from discrimination. By codifying non-discrimination protections into state law, Michigan brings us one step closer to creating a society where LGBTQ young people never have to fear being turned away from a business or told they cannot participate in an activity or enter a public space just because of who they are or who they love,” said Gwen Stembridge, advocacy campaign manager for LGBTQ nonprofit The Trevor Project.
Republicans put forth amendments with provisions for faith-based entities, but they failed.