In 2018 the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan had a full plate working to defend and advocate for LGBTQ civil rights across the state. Staff Attorney Jay Kaplan predicts that 2019 will be just as involved, especially leading up to the 2020 elections, but he is excited about potential collaboration opportunities that have sprung up since the midterms.
“Among the things that I’m hopeful about is possibly working with the secretary of state to develop a more inclusive policy for transgender people to get more accurate identity documents for them,” Kaplan said. “Hopefully the governor, through her appointments and in terms of policies, will be more supportive of LGBT people and their families. And then for the attorney general, there is an opportunity to look at current laws and ways that our courts might have handled LGBT-related issues — including how we recognize parents and families and how we will possibly request attorney general opinions on that.”
Kaplan also emphasized that as hopeful as he is, issues like religiously based service refusals are not going to go away in the new year.
“I see that as a very big threat to LGBT rights and I think that’s going to continue to be a priority to the ACLU,” Kaplan said. “So we’re going to want to be involved in those situations and, in some situations, possibly intervene where someone has challenged an LGBT-supportive policy as violating that person’s LGBT religious freedom. We have a presidential administration that’s very supportive of the ability to use one’s religious beliefs to exempt people from complying with civil rights laws.”