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Whitmer signs expansion of Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; enshrines protections for LGBTQ+ Michiganders

Posted at 9:22 PM, Mar 16, 2023

LANSING, Mich. — History was made on Thursday when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a major expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

The change will add protection against discrimination in housing and employment for LGBTQ Michiganders.

“It's just really important as a queer person that that we don't get fired or get discriminated against and kind of normal everyday things," said Sarah Mackey who attended the bill signing.

Mackey said, for a long time she lived in that fear.

“I'm really excited to not have to have that fear anymore," she said. "I can just live my life and talk how I want to talk and talk about my wife and not be worried about it.”

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act passed in 1976, providing protection against discrimination over race, religion, age and sex among other groups.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that the fight began anew to amend Elliott-Larsen to include LGBTQ protections.

“For 40 long years, amending Elliott-Larsen has been the battle cry of our community; equal protection of employment, in housing and in public accommodations," said State Sen. Jeremy Moss, who sponsored the bill.

And it wasn't until now, when that fight came to fruition. For Mackey, it was worth the long wait.

“We definitely had some setbacks over the years trying to get this passed," she said. "So the fact that we were able to have have it passed this time and have the governor sign, it's really exciting.”

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