Category Archives: Civil Rights

Religious freedom bill introduced again in new Legislature

Symbols of the Three Monotheistic Religions
A group of Republican state lawmakers will try again to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) failed to pass before the legislative session ended last year. Continue reading

House holds hearing on LGBT civil rights bill

Retired Ford executive and former Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour says adopting LGBT protections in law will help the state attract and retain talent.

Retired Ford executive and former Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour says adopting LGBT protections in law will help the state attract and retain talent.

Minister Stacy Swimp says adding LGBT protections to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act would open the door to discrimination against business owners with religious objections to gay rights.

Minister Stacy Swimp says adding LGBT protections to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act would open the door to discrimination against business owners with religious objections to gay rights.

A state House committee adjourned today (Wed.) without voting on legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law, and it’s not clear if a measure will be voted on before the Legislature wraps up for the year.
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Students protest the Michael Brown verdict on CMU campus

20141125_112033Following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision on the Michael Brown verdict, protests have sprang up across the country.

One took place on the campus of CMU today.

A crowd of more than 70 students gathered to show solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson. Students held signs and chanted things like , “Hands up, don’t shoot!”.

Kim Raymond, a senior at CMU, attended the protest.

She said, “I think it’s sad but seeing all the violent protests in Ferguson I think that’s even sadder. I feel like they should practice non-violence like Martin Luther King did and not light things on fire or hurt people.”

CMU Senior Hannah Mollett helped organize the protest.

She said she’d like to see a couple of changes in society.

“I think one is underlying racist culture. I think that the exponential amount of young black boys and men that are killed by police in this country is absolutely disgusting. I also think that relates back to violence and gun violence in our culture, the police misuse of power, so I think it’s kind of a combination of factors.”

Another protest also took place in front the University Center on campus later in the afternoon.

The family of Michael Brown and President Obama have called for protests to be peaceful in the wake of the verdict.

Michigan files response brief in time to get marriage case before SCOTUS

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer on the steps of the federal courthouse in Cincinnati before the 6th Circuit US Court of Appeals hears arguments in their challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer on the steps of the federal courthouse in Cincinnati before the 6th Circuit US Court of Appeals hears arguments in their challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

Michigan has filed its response with the US Supreme Court to the legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
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LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

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Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity. Continue reading

LGBT rights debate to pit LGB against T

Gay-Michigan1-257x300A debate is shaping up in the Michigan House on whether Michigan’s civil rights law should be expanded to protect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from discrimination. There’s also a fight brewing on whether those protections should extent to transgender people.
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No decision yet on adding LGBT to MI civil rights law

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There’s no decision yet on whether the Legislature will take up amending the state’s civil rights law before the session ends in six weeks or less. It’s not clear the votes are there to add LGBT protections to the law. Continue reading

Schuette, DeBoer and Rowse to cooperate in getting same-sex marriage case before SCOTUS

Supreme court

Attorney General Bill Schuette and the couple trying to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage are on opposite sides of the case. But they’ve agreed they will cooperate in trying to get the case on the US Supreme Court docket during the current session. Continue reading

ACLU of Michigan director denies major roadblocks for LGBT rights in Legislature

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Groups that support adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they’re confident state lawmakers will act this year. That’s despite some recent setbacks.

State House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, says he wants to make sure the measure doesn’t infringe on religious liberties. And people working closely on the issue say some Republican lawmakers don’t want to include transgender people in the legislation.

ACLU of Michigan Director Kary Moss appeared this week on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record. She says the business groups pushing for the measure do not have any interest in removing gender identity from the legislation.

“There’s not been debate in the business coalition,” said Moss. “All the members of the coalition agreed to support including both sexual orientation and gender identity. And I think too much has been made of the opinions of a few people who have been concerned about it.”

She said supporters’ focus is squarely on getting the measure passed during the Legislature’s “lame duck” session in December.

“The business community has come together in an unprecedented way. I think that’s created a lot of momentum. I think we’ve had a lot of Republicans who have indicated that the time is now and right and they’re supportive of it.”

Under current state law, people can be fired, denied employment, or denied housing because they are gay or transgender.

Roads, pot, civil rights on agenda as state lawmakers return from summer break

By Jake Neher

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The state Legislature returns Tuesday after a two month summer break.

Republican leaders still have some big priorities to accomplish before the end of the year. None are bigger than finding a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

But it looks like that and other major bills will have to wait until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session in December. Top lawmakers say they do notexpect many major votes between now and the November election.

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