Legislative leaders say civil rights law update can get done in ’14

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe)

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe)

The Legislature’s Republican leaders say they think the state’s civil rights law can be updated to cover lesbian, gay, and transgender people before the end of the year. Last week, Governor Rick Snyder called on the Legislature to take up the question.

The Legislature’s GOP leadership quickly concurred that it’s time to deal with ensuring that gay, lesbian, and transgender people are protected in Michigan from housing and employment discrimination.

“If you’re talking about lesbian/gay community, it’s wrong to discriminate based on those reasons, but there may be other things to be considered, too,” said State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. “So I’m going to open up the debate and we’re going to talk about it.”

House Speaker Jase Bolger says LGBT rights will have to be balanced with the rights of people who have religious objections.

“So I look forward to working together to make sure that we protect people so that they are not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation,” Bolger said. “Nor should they be discriminated against because of their deeply held religious beliefs. So this will once again be about finding that balance so that Michigan citizens are respected and protected.”

Both say sorting that out will have to wait until after lawmakers deal with the Detroit bankruptcy, road funding, and the new state budget, and then the Legislature’s summer break. That’s supposed to begin in a couple of weeks.