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Debate continues over LGBT bill

Dec 3, 2014

Rep. Singh (left) and Rep. VerHeulen
Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Right now in Michigan, you can be fired from a job or be denied housing if you're gay. A group of LGBT rights advocates wants that changed. 

This morning, a state House committee heard debate over adding LGBT protections to the state's civil rights act. 

Detroit News Capitol reporter Chad Livengood was at the hearing.

There are two competing bills for expanding the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. One, proposed by Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey, includes sexual orientation in a list of protected classes. East Lansing Democrat Sam Singh’s bill includes sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, a crucial addition in the eyes of the LGBT community.

It's in those four words that the tension lies, says Livengood. House Democrats say they won't vote for a bill without them. Rep. Singh's bill, meanwhile, has 51 co-sponsors and needs the support of five Republicans to get out of the House.

The LGBT community has taken a firm stance on this issue. They say if a bill that includes protections for transgender people doesn’t pass, they will take it to the ballot in 2016, which could go along with same sex marriage pending the Supreme Court’s decision.