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Second Time's a Charm? Ann Arbor State Rep Again Targets Anti-LGBTQ+ Michigan Laws

This time, Yousef Rabhi has more support from fellow Dems

Jason A. Michael

Michigan State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D – Ann Arbor) has once again introduced a package of bills and a joint resolution aimed at striking down harmful, anti-LGBTQ+ state laws. 

Rabhi wants to strike Michigan laws banning same-sex marriage and to amend dozens of statutes which still contain gendered marital references. The package includes 54 bills and has the support of 40 of Rabhi's fellow Democrats. 

"The United States Constitution says same-sex couples and their families deserve to be treated fairly, but Michigan's laws still don't reflect that," Rabhi said in a post to his Facebook page. "By removing discriminatory language from our laws, we are showing that we as a state value LGBTQ people, and that we intend to live up to the ideals of equality and justice."

Last year, Rabhi introduced the same 54-bill package and, at that time, he had the support of 28 fellow Democrats. 

"What people often forget is that state laws are also still on the books right now that are contrary to the federal Supreme Court ruling," Rabhi said at the time. "And while federal law, of course, supersedes state law … it is important to clean the books at the state level and ensure that our state laws are in compliance with federal laws so that if things are to change at the federal level, we would still have our state laws on the books that are protective of everyone's equal rights."

The Republican-controlled Michigan legislature has thwarted most efforts at passing pro-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent years, including the effort to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include statewide legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

"Because this is purely technical in nature, I don't see any reason why this should not pass," Rabhi said last year.

But it didn't pass. Instead, it was referred to the Committee on Government Operations where no further action was taken and it died a slow death. That package of bills received no vote, no hearing and heard no testimony.

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