Michigan House votes to add LGBTQ+ protections to Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supports expansion of LGBTQ+ protections

FILE -- Pride flag.

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan lawmakers voted Wednesday to expand the state’s civil rights law to include the LGBTQ+ community and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public services based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. Senate Bill No. 4 amends the act to add “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” to that list.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Jeremy Moss on Jan. 12, 2023. It came up for a vote in the Senate on March 1, 2023, and passed 23-15. The bill was then sent to the House where it passed on Wednesday 64-45. The bill will be enrolled in the Senate before it is sent to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. Whitmer said she plans to sign the bill.

“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. “Amending Elliott-Larsen will help ensure Michiganders can’t be fired from their job or evicted from their home based on who they love or how they identify. This is about doing the right thing, and it is just good economics. Bigotry is bad for business, and ensuring these protections will build on our reputation as a beacon of opportunity where anyone can succeed.”

Senate and House Republicans opposed the measure, arguing that it could infringe on religious groups’ rights.

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.