Category Archives: Civil Rights

Young conservatives push for change in GOP platform on marriage

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A group of young conservatives is in Michigan to meet with state Republican leaders. Its goal is to get the party to adopt a change in its platform at the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016. It wants the GOP to drop its opposition to same-sex marriage. Continue reading

MI’s defense of same-sex marriage ban delivered to Supreme Court

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office has delivered the state’s defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the US Supreme Court.

The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.

From the brief’s summation:

“This case is not about the best definition of marriage or any stereotypes about families. Families
come in all types, and parents of all types—married or single, gay or straight—love their children. This case is about whether the Fourteenth Amendment imposes a single marriage view on all states such that the people have no right to decide. It does not.”

The brief says the US Constitution is silent on the issue, so the decision on defining who can get married is left to states or their voters. The brief says Michigan voters made a reasonable choice when they approved the ban in 2004, and only they should be allowed to reverse it.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are the lesbian couple challenging the ban. They say it violates their equal protection rights and the equal protections rights of the children they are raising together, but cannot jointly adopt.

Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee will also defend marriage bans when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case next month.

Faith-based adoption bills headed to House floor

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Legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBT couples or anyone else based on moral or religious grounds is headed to the floor of the state House. Continue reading

DeBoer attorney says SCOTUS arguments will focus on children

Bob Fluke of Lansing brought a gay pride flag to the inauguration. He wants the governor and lawmakers to make the issue a priority.

Bob Fluke of Lansing brought a gay pride flag to the inauguration. He wants the governor and lawmakers to make the issue a priority.

Attorneys for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse say their challenge before the US Supreme Court to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban focus on the harmful effects on children. Continue reading

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