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ELCRA expansion lined up for Senate floor vote

State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) in his office in the Michigan Capitol.
Rick Pluta
State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) in his office in the Michigan Capitol.

A bill to expand Michigan’s civil rights law to include LGBTQ protections has been moved into a position to be voted on soon by the state Senate. The Senate, on a voice vote, placed the bill on its calendar for a formal vote.

Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is the bill sponsor. He says, if it’s signed into law, that would cap more than four decades of efforts to add specific LGBTQ protections to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

“Here we are in 2023, and I think people are astounded that this is not protected under the law and we’re now in the final act of making sure that it is,” he told Michigan Public Radio. Moss said this appears to be the first time since the law was signed in 1977 that a bill to include LGBTQ rights has made it to the House or Senate floor.

“It’s had a few committee hearings. All of this over the past 40 years,” he said. “But this is the first time we’re actually bringing it to a full chamber for debate and a vote. We have 20 Democratic co-sponsors. That’s enough to get it out of the Senate.”

If the bill clears the Senate, it would go to the state House, which is also controlled by Democrats. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she is ready to sign the bill if it reaches her desk.

The bill would also cement in state law a decision last summer from the Michigan Supreme Court. A 5-2 majority held Elliott-Larsen’s protections against sex discrimination include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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