Senate votes to add LGBTQ+ protections to Michigan's civil rights act

The Meaning of Equal
Posted at 2:09 PM, Mar 01, 2023

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Senate voted Tuesday to add LGBTQ+ protections to Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), one of the first major moves under new Democratic leadership in the Michigan Legislature.

The Senate voted 23-15 to expand the act, with three Republicans joining the 20 Democrats. Those three Republicans were Sens. Ruth Johnson from Holly, Michael Webber from Rochester Hills and Joseph Bellino Jr. from Monroe.

There have been attempts to expand protections to those in the LGBTQ+ community but they have not been able to pass in Republican-controlled legislatures.

The ELCRA prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, family status or marital status. Under the expansion, it will also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

After the bill passed, there was loud applause in the Senate chamber.

"This will ensure that no one can be discriminated against in employment, housing or public accommodation because of who they love or how they identify. I want to thank the countless advocates over the decades who have pushed for this overdue change," State Sen. Sean McCann tweeted.

Sen. Jim Runestad, a Republican from White Lake, released a statement after voting against the expansion and said he tried to amend the bill to protect religious liberties.

The bill will now head to the Michigan House, where it will likely pass with Democratic control, and would go to the governor for her signature.