New bill would add gender identity, sexual orientation to Michigan's protected class

Posted at 5:26 AM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 11:45:55-04

(WXYZ) — A new bill set to be unveiled Tuesday would change Michigan's Constitution and protect people based on the sexual orientation and gender identity.

Members of our state legislature are making moves to change what's known as "protected class" – an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

It's essentially an anti-discrimination law. Someone can't keep you from living somewhere, going to school or even being employed because of the following things: religion, race, color, national origin, height, age, weight, familial state or marital status.

The proposed bill would add two more classes: gender identity and sexual orientation.

On Monday, Governor Whitmer spoke in Ferndale to a group advocating for the importance of such a bill. She made it clear that she’ll sign it. But what’s unclear is whether the bill will make it to that point.

But as State Senator Jeremy Moss put it — they’ve never been closer.

“We’ve made a lot of ground — a lot of headway. We have support from regional chambers of commerce, the business community is making this an economic case to attract talent and keep and retain talent here in Michigan. That’s a far lift from where we were 10 years ago," Moss said.

Every state Democrat has signed on to support the bill, and the house version has a Republican as a co-sponsor.

There’s a growing push to see this get done, but as we heard the governor say last hour: Michigan’s on the wrong side of history for not having something like this on the books. She even threw out the possibility of taking the issue to the voters if the legislature doesn’t act.

The official unveiling of the bill takes place in three hours in Lansing.