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Michigan civil rights law expansion lined up for Senate floor vote

The Michigan state Senate room from the gallery.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

A bill to expand Michigan’s civil rights law to include LGBTQ protections has been moved into a position to be voted on by the state Senate. The Senate, on a voice vote, placed the bill on its calendar for a formal vote.

State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) in his office in the Michigan Capitol.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) in his office in the Michigan Capitol.

Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is the bill sponsor. He says, if it’s signed into law, that would cap more than four decades of efforts to add specific LGBTQ protections to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

“Here we are in 2023 and I think people are astounded that this is not protected under the law and we’re now in the final act of making sure that it is,” he told Michigan Public Radio. Moss said this appears to be the first time since the law was signed in 1977 that a bill to include LGBTQ rights has made it to the House or Senate floor.

“It’s had a few committee hearings. All of this over the past 40 years,” he said. “But this is the first time we’re actually bringing it to a full chamber for debate and a vote. We have 20 Democratic co-sponsors. That’s enough to get it out of the Senate.”

If the bill clears the Senate, it would go to the state House, which is also controlled by Democrats. And Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she is ready to sign the bill if it reaches her desk.

The bill would also cement in state law a decision last summer from the Michigan Supreme Court. A 5-2 majority held Elliott-Larsen’s protections against sex discrimination include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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