Possible Changes to Michigan Laws Banning Discrimination
State Representative Frank Foster, R-Pellston, has introduced legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Advocates of gay rights are asking for the legislation to also protect Michigan residents who are transgender.
Foster hopes that the legislation will be passed by the end of the year and that the Legislature will add protections to gay individuals civil rights. The proposed law would ban discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, schools and colleges.
Democrats in the Legislature had earlier proposed to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.
There was a decision made Wednesday to not include gender identity in the bill proposed by Republicans, this upset gay rights advocates.
Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, supports Fosters proposed legislation but said because Michigan already bans sex-based discrimination there is no need to include gender identity in the bill.
Bolger introduced a bill to create the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act that is based on the existing federal law. In a press release sent by Bolger's office he said “I have been researching this issue for well over a year and said repeatedly that I would work on finding legislation that could strike a balance between protecting personal liberties and defending religious freedom."