The Michigan Senate passed a historic bill to protect LGBTQ rights in the state. The state legislature passed a bill focusing on civil rights protections for the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Michigan Senate took the first major step in expanding the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act on Wednesday, passing a provision to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bill will have to pass through the Michigan House of Representatives before it can be signed into law.
The expanded Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act would make it illegal for landlords or employers to evict or fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Specifically, the bill would bar firing someone, evicting them, or otherwise discriminating against them because they are a member of the LGBTQ community.
One state Democratic lawmaker said the bill would help make Michigan “a place where everyone is welcome.”
But some state Republicans are against it, saying the measure would dismiss religious organizations and businesses’ beliefs.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.
It comes as states from South Dakota to Arkansas to Florida have introduced anti-transgender measures.
Advocates for ELCRA’s expansion say adding protections for the LGBTQ community is not only a victory for civil rights in Michigan but also a boon for businesses ability to attract and retain talent for their workforces.
Should the bill pass through the House and be signed into law, which is expected, given Democrats control of the chamber and Whitmer’s support of the bill, it would codify a Michigan Supreme Court opinion from last year which stated ELCRA bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.