The Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill providing civil rights protections for LGBTQ people, a move hailed by rights advocates as a “monumental piece of pro-equality legislation.”
Senate Bill 4, which received bipartisan support, amended the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to explicitly include protections against discrimination by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
The bill passed the state Senate last week and now heads to the desk of the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign it into law.
“What a timing,” Sen. Jeremy Moss, the Democrat who introduced the bill, wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
Moss, the state’s first openly gay senator, also shared a brief video of lawmakers on the House floor, some waving LGBTQ Pride flags and erupting in applause after the bill passed, a moment celebrated by the director. Equality Michigan executive Erin Knott. , as a “big step for equality.”
Before Wednesday, Michigan was one of 29 states with laws that do not explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Although the state’s top court ruled last year that its anti-discrimination law also includes sexual orientation, that decision could be reversed later if the protections were not codified into law.
“By codifying anti-discrimination protections into state law, Michigan brings us one step closer to creating a society where LGBTQ youth never have to fear being turned away from a business or told they can’t participate in activity or enter a public space just because of who they are or who they love,” Gwen Stembridge, campaign manager for advocacy The Trevor Projecthe told the Daily News in a statement.
The organization, the world’s largest advocacy group focusing on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, found that 74% LGBTQ youth in Michigan reported experiencing discrimination in 2022.
Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said passage of the bill would not only protect LGBTQ Michiganders, but would also “send a message to our entire nation that when we organize, when we come together as community, we will and we will.” make progress.”
“We are seeing history being made here in Michigan,” Robinson said.
According to HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, more than 400 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in state chambers across the country this year alone.