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Will Michigan Legislature revisit LGBT protections?

Gov. Rick Snyder surprised legislators during State of the State address

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DETROIT – For a governor who shies away from talking about controversial social issues, Gov. Rick Snyder was pretty front and center about expanding protections for the LGBT community during his State of the State address.

He surprised a lot of legislators by asking for them to revisit expanding the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Law to include gays.

Watch: Uncut: Gov. Snyder's 2015 State of the State address

You'll remember an attempt was made in December during the lame duck session to push through protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It went down in flames when the leadership of the state House made it clear it wasn't interested in including transgendered people.

The business community has been pushing for the inclusion. Right now you can be fired for being gay in Michigan.

Snyder got a better reaction Tuesday night from Democrats when he broached the subject than his own party.

"He keeps talking about it, he keeps saying that the state of Michigan needs to have a conversation and he keeps saying that the legislature needs to take this up," said Sommer Foster, of Equality Michigan. "I'm absolutely sure he'd sign a bill if there was one in front of his desk."

Will it get any movement now? Sources told Local 4 News it is unlikely. There's just no appetite to revisit the issue right now.

New Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof told Local 4 News it's not a priority.

"I think we've got a lot of work to do on the budget issues and these tax credits," Meekhof said. "It's probably not the thing we want to lead off with; it's not the top of our agenda."

Meekhof is interesting: A conservative who doesn't appear to want to go there when it comes to divisive social issues -- no matter which party is pushing them.

"Top of the agenda is being smart of the taxpayers of Michigan," according to Meekhof.

What could make the wheels in Lansing move on the issue is a decision from the Supreme Court. The justices have decided to hear a gay-marriage case out of Michigan and may finally make a determination on whether gay marriage is legal.

Many in the LGBT community and its allies are hoping for a quick resolution, some thinking the court could make a decision by the end of June. If gay marriage becomes legal in Michigan, can protections for gays in the workplace be very far behind?


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