LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — Michigan’s LGBTQ community is celebrating after the state civil rights commission said they would start investigating discrimination claims based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
But there is backlash over it.
Critics say the commission stepped way over the line and is trying to rewrite the law. On the other hand, supporters say it’s just a new interpretation, and its the right thing to do.
“Its a very good thing for Michigan, its a good thing for Michiganders,” Daniel Levy of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights said.
According to Levy, the new interpretation of the law simply recognizes what he believes is an obvious fact. Other supporters agreed.
“It provides a path of justice for the LGBTQ community,” Equality Michigan Executive Director Stephanie White said.
But critics say that the commission is overstepping its bounds.
“This really is an arrogant abuse of power. Its almost breathtaking in its scope,” attorney David Kallman said.
The Civil Rights Commission can now investigate discrimination claims based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Violaters can be taken to court and even fined. Attorney David Kallman told News 10 that won’t hold up.
“This is a real assault on our form of government. Its pathetic. It will not hold up. The law is crystal clear. That’s what’s so amazing about this,” he said.
Supporters say they know the law is still the same, but that doesn’t mean they stop fighting.
“It does not change the law. It warns people though that we will be investigating those cases and we will be trying to take them to court to find out for certain whether or not it is covered by the law,” Levy said,
“It’s the right thing to do, to treat people equally,” White said.
The law in question here is the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination. The Civil Rights Commission is now interpreting that to cover gender identity and sexual orientation.
Lawmakers can ask the Attorney General for his legal opinion on the interpretation, which would carry the weight of law unless a court overrules him.
News 10 will keep you updated on this story.