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Michigan Senate passes Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion to add LGBTQ rights

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The Michigan Senate voted Wednesday to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ rights in the state’s anti-discrimination protections. Previous efforts have languished, but the Senate’s new Democratic majority added LGBTQ rights to its list of priorities.

Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) got to preside over the vote on his bill.

Earlier, he delivered his final argument to the Senate. Moss said it’s taken four decades to add LGBTQ protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

“And when this vote comes on the board, you will tell generations of people yet to come that they have a future, too,” Moss said.

Opponents argued the bill could infringe on religious rights.

Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) delivered a half-hour speech opposing the bill. He said it will upset cultural norms and violate religious freedoms.

“This legislation will create impossible-to-resolve conflicts for churches, individuals, employers and employees,” McBroom said.

Supporters say LGBTQ civil rights protections are long overdue.

“It is unethical to deny someone a job because of who they are," Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) said. "It is immoral to deny someone their right to identify how they choose, and how they truly are inside of themselves.”

Most Republicans voted “no,” but three GOP lawmakers joined the Democratic majority in the 23-to-15 vote. The bill now goes to the state House. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she is eager to sign the bill into law.

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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