Governor Whitmer on Michigan Supreme Court Expanding Civil Rights to LGBTQ+ Michiganders for First Time in State History

28 July, 2022
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Governor Whitmer on Michigan Supreme Court Expanding Civil Rights to LGBTQ+ Michiganders for First Time in State History

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement after the Michigan Supreme Court delivered a decision affirming that the protections, rights, and freedoms afforded to all Michiganders under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) extend to sexual orientation. PreviouslyGovernor Whitmer filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court arguing the language of the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

 

Governor Whitmer Statement 

“Today, Michigan is more free and fair than it was yesterday.  

  

“The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled decisively to confirm that our state’s civil rights laws protect our LGBTQ+ communityThis is a monumental victory that ensures our LGBTQ+ community is seen equally by state law and protected by it. 

  

“As a mom, a governor, and proud ally of the community, I am so grateful for this ruling. It will save lives, protect families, and help ensure that every Michigander is treated with dignity and respect by law. For too long, LGBTQ+ Michiganders had been left out of our state’s civil rights protections. No longer. Because of this ruling, nobody can legally be fired from their job or evicted from their home because of who they love. 

  

“For years, I have fought to bring our LGBTQ+ community under the protection of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, and I am proud that today, history has been made. If we're going to attract the talented workforce our businesses need to create jobs and grow our economy, then we’ve got to get on the right side of history. I will keep fighting to make Michigan a safe, welcoming place no matter who you are, where you come from, or who you love.” 

 

Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist Statement 

“The Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling expanding civil rights protections to our LGBTQ+ friends and family is a tremendous victory for members of the community, for allies, and for every Michigander who believes in equality and justice for all. 

  

“Here in Michigan, we know that if one of us is left behind or left out, we are all worse off. Today’s decision extending civil rights to the LGBTQ+ community helps ensure that no matter who you are or who you love, you can make a life in Michigan knowing that you have the full protection of the law behind you. 

  

“Michiganders stand tall for one another, and I will keep fighting alongside Governor Whitmer to make our state more equitable and just for everyone.” 

 

Governor Whitmer’s Actions to Protect the LGBTQ+ Community 

Since taking office, Governor Whitmer has taken action to protect the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ Michiganders are an essential part of who we are and make Michigan a better place to live and work.  

  • In January 2019, one of the first actions taken by Governor Whitmer was signing executive directive 2019-09 to strengthen protections against discrimination in state employment, including for gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. This directive extended those protections to the employees of anyone doing business with the state too. 
  • In June 2019, Governor Whitmer was the first governor in Michigan to fly the Pride Flag on a State of Michigan. 
  • In June 2020, Governor Whitmer renamed Downtown Lansing’s Lewis Cass Building to the “Elliot-Larsen Building” in honor of the bipartisan sponsors of Michigan’s Civil Rights Law. 
  • In December 2021, Governor Whitmer filed an amicus brief in the Michigan Supreme Court arguing the language of the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. 
  • In March 2021, Governor Whitmer called on the legislature to send her a bill expanding Michigan’s Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act to include “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.” 
  • In June 2021, Governor Whitmer issued a proclamation marking June as Pride Month to recognize the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ Michiganders and was the first governor to march at the Motor City Pride parade. 
  • In June 2021, Governor Whitmer signed executive directive 2021-03 to prohibit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to use any state and federal funds for conversion therapy on minors. It also requires any department or agency that regulates, provides, procures, or pays for medical or mental health services for Michiganders must act to protect minors from conversion therapy. 

 

Equality Michigan Statement 

"Today's Michigan Supreme Court ruling is an extraordinary win for LGTBQ+ Michiganders and our families, friends, and allies. Michigan continues to prove that the LGBTQ+ community deserves to be treated fairly and equally. While we are grateful for today's ruling, and we have the support of Governor Whitmer on our side, the fight does not stop there" said Erin Knott, Executive Director of Equality Michigan.  "As we are all too familiar, the Court’s ruling does not guarantee our rights, and an official change in legislation to the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” is still imperative. Equality Michigan will continue to lead this fight and call on the Michigan Legislature to follow Governor Whitmer's lead, and officially amend Michigan’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, but today, we can celebrate this win." 

 


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