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Critical Hurdle Cleared as ELCRA LGBTQ+ Amendment Passes Michigan House Vote

Sarah Bricker Hunt

The bill to amend Michigan’s civil rights law (the 1977 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, aka ELCRA) to include LGBTQ+ protections against discrimination cleared a critical hurdle today when the Michigan House of Representatives voted in favor of sending the bill on to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

Gov. Whitmer has signaled and explicitly stated on several occasions that she will sign the bill once it clears the two state house chambers (the Michigan Senate approved the bill and sent it on to the House on Feb. 9), making it all but a done deal that Michigan’s law of the land will soon favor the civil rights of queer people across the state.

After today's House vote, the governor released a statement that read, “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.”

“I want to thank sponsors Senator Jeremy Moss and Representative Jason Hoskins and so many others for their leadership on this issue. Let’s keep working together to build a Michigan where everyone can thrive,” the statement continues.

Local leaders and LGBTQ+ organizations celebrated the latest step in the bill becoming a law on social media.

On Facebook, Equality Michigan posted, “Breaking: Michigan's House of Representatives has just voted to pass the amendment to Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. The bill now heads to Gov. Whitmer's desk for her signature.

The Michigan Legislature has sent a loud and clear bipartisan message to the rest of the country: LGBTQ+ people are welcome and safe and belong in Michigan. Who else is #proud to be a Michigander today? #HateWontWin

ACLU Michigan tweeted, “ACLU-MI celebrates the historic passage of legislation that amends the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to explicitly name sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as being protected from discrimination under the law.”

HRC Michigan tweeted, “BREAKING: The Michigan House of Representatives passed HB-4003 and SB-0004 in a bipartisan vote! This vote sends a clear message that LGBTQ+ Michiganders are valued, loved, and that discrimination will not be tolerated anymore. #HateWontWin

The governor's office has not indicated when Gov. Whitmer will sign the bill, but on Feb. 24, when Whitmer held a roundtable with LGBTQ+ community leaders in Ferndale to discuss ELCRA, she seemed eager to sign.

"It will be a joy to affix my signature to the bill and get it done," Whitmer said.

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