We’re barely into February and already the newly sworn in, Democrat-majority Michigan State House is making significant strides for the LGBTQ+ community. Today, the Michigan Senate has officially voted in favor of Senate Bill 4, which formally expands civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Michigan residents via an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA).
Equality Michigan tweeted the news, adding, “Thank you @JeremyAllenMoss for your leadership and caring on the legacy of those who have worked on this for over 50 years.”
BREAKING! Senate Bill 0004 to expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Michiganders passes committee with 5 yea – 1 no – 1 pass
Thank you @JeremyAllenMoss
for your leadership and caring on the legacy of those who have worked on this for over 50 years.
— Equality Michigan Action Network (@ActionEqmi) February 9, 2023
Also on Twitter, HRC Michigan posted, “This legislation is proof that our elections matter. While across the country anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being introduced by extreme politicians, here in Michigan we’re making historic progress. Michiganders rejected the hate and chose unity and acceptance.”
This legislation is proof that our elections matter. While across the country anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being introduced by extreme politicians, here in Michigan we’re making historic progress. Michiganders rejected the hate and chose unity and acceptance. – @HRC_President
— HRC in Michigan (@HRC_MI) February 9, 2023
After the vote, Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott told HRC Michigan, “We know that it’s good for business, it’s good for retaining and attracting talent. But I don’t want to forget about the fact that you heard from me and the rest of the community last week. At Equality Michigan, our department of victim services gets calls from members of the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis that are experiencing some form of discrimination, harassment, or a horrific act of violence. Today’s vote on the behalf of this committee sends a message to the LGBTQ+ community that they are valued, that they are loved, and that discrimination will not be tolerated anymore.”
State Senator and ELCRA Bill Sponsor Jeremy Moss added, “For far too long, LGBTQ+ Michiganders have not been able to live as their true and authentic selves here with equal protection under the law. Without employment and housing protections in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, our community is vulnerable to being kicked out of our economy as workers and consumers. By including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as protected classes in the act, we signal that Michigan is a safe place to call home. This committee vote is a win for all of Michigan.”
The bill’s passage comes on the heels of the November election where voters approved an initiative to amend the ELCRA and after Democrats took control of both chambers of the house for the first time in more than 40 years.
The blue wave didn’t stop there — they also voted for Democrats for governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Democrat candidates across the state ran on platforms endorsing LGBTQ+ causes including the amendment.
Earlier this month, local LGBTQ+ activists, allies and community members came together to add their vocal support to the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety’s historical hearing on amending the state’s civil rights act.
“This is nothing short of remarkable, this is the government working for the people and it’s powerful,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “You can hear by every testimony, every story that was shared, this is about the fundamental values of being American. Restoring dignity, ensuring equality, ensuring fairness, and we can do that in the halls of government for everyone!”