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Rejoicing at the Statehouse as Michigan Senate Votes to Add LGBTQ+ Protections to Civil Rights Act

By |2023-03-01T13:46:40-05:00March 1st, 2023|Michigan, News|

It’s an accomplishment at least two decades in the making, but the Michigan LGBTQ+ community is rejoicing now that the state Senate has officially passed a bill to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ+ protections. Gov. Whitmer has repeatedly expressed her excitement about signing the bill into law once it reaches her desk. The Michigan Senate voted decisively in favor of the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Jeremy Moss in January. Assuming the Michigan House of Representatives passes the bill as expected, it will be sent on to the governor. 

After the 23-15 Senate vote, the Michigan Democratic party tweeted, “HISTORIC moment for Michiganders: We just PASSED @JeremyAllenMoss‘ SB 4 to protect #LGBTQ Michiganders from discrimination by adding them to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act! The chamber just erupted in cheers & applause. #EqualityForAll

Several Democratic LGBTQ+ and ally candidates for state offices ran on platforms that included prioritizing the legislation, which follows a state Supreme Court decision last summer affirming Attorney General Dana Nessel’s argument that Elliott-Larsen protections did extend to the LGBTQ+ community. The legislation will strengthen the Act by officially adding language that could only be changed by Michigan lawmakers in the future. Once signed into law, the legislation would bar firing someone, evicting them or discriminating against them in other ways because they are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

After Democrats swept both chambers of the Statehouse and re-elected Democrats to the governor, attorney general and secretary of state roles, the amendment was all but guaranteed. Still, it’s notable that the legislature took up the bill as its very first official action in the new legislative session. 

Local LGBTQ+ advocates and lawmakers took to social media to celebrate the history-making win. 

Sen. Dayna Polehanki tweeted, “One of my GOP colleagues just referred to treating our LGBTQ friends equally in employment and housing a “super right.” I have never been more eager to press this “Aye” button than I am today as we vote soon to expand ELCRA to include sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Twitter user Bailey Tjolsen wrote, “I almost went to college out of state because (among other reasons) I never believed Michigan would be a safe state to be LGBT… so today’s a big day. #ELCRA

On Facebook, Equality Michigan posted, “BREAKING: Michigan’s Senate just passed Senate Bill 4, the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ+ Michiganders from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Today’s bipartisan vote is a major milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in our state. Equality Michigan now urges the Michigan House of Representatives to follow suit and take swift action by voting in favor of Senate Bill 4.”

About the Author:

Sarah Bricker Hunt, a proud Eastern Michigan University alum, is a freelance writer and editor who dabbles in a little of everything.
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