LGBTQ | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

LGBTQ

Bill Schuette getting sworn in as attorney general.
Joe Ross / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There's a tug-of-war happening between the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and Attorney General Bill Schuette. In the middle of it lies Michigan’s LGBTQ community.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission says it will continue to include LGBTQ people as a group protected under anti-discrimination law, no matter what Michigan’s Attorney General says.

In May, the civil rights commission decided to include LGBTQ individuals as members of a protected class under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Stephen Radford / Unsplash

The ACLU of Michigan wants a federal judge to let its discrimination lawsuit against the state move forward.

The ACLU says a policy that lets faith-based child placement agencies under contract with the state withhold services for religious reasons is unconstitutional. Multiple same sex couples say they were turned away when they tried to adopt from these organizations that receive state money.

The state says there are other agencies for same-sex couples to use.

Leslie Cooper is with the ACLU of Michigan. She says the state’s argument doesn’t hold up.

kids at a desk
Mr. Ullman's Class / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These are just a few of the references that state Senator Patrick Colbeck and a group of conservative leaders hope to eliminate from K-12 public school social studies curriculum.

wikimedia commons

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and House Speaker Tom Leonard have asked Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to issue an opinion on a controversial decision by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

The commission said last month it would consider housing, employment and public accommodation  discrimination claims by LGBTQ people under the state's anti-discrimination law (ELCRA) -- because the category of "sex" in the act should be interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the more traditional understanding of sex.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

The state Department of Civil Rights has started accepting complaints from people who say they face discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s after a state commission voted this week to change its interpretation of Michigan’s civil rights law.

David Kallman is an attorney who says he will defend people accused of LGBT discrimination. He says the commission has no right to suddenly change the rules.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission defends humanity

May 22, 2018
LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Let’s say there had been a Michigan Civil Rights Commission in 1961, and it announced that it was going to start investigating claims of discrimination against black people.

Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in Michigan, people can file a complaint if they are discriminated against for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. 

The state's Elliott-Larson Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, among other categories. Today the Michigan Civil Rights Commission adopted a regulation stating that "sex" under the Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Aimee Stephens
ACLU of Michigan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled in favor of a fired transgender funeral director.

Aimee Stephens said she was unlawfully fired by Michigan-based R.G. & G.R Harris Funeral Homes after disclosing she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman.

Should politicians have to come out?

Feb 21, 2018

I have always been attracted to women with dark hair. If you find that statement utterly irrelevant to anything I do professionally, that’s because it is.

Did Governor Rick Snyder intend to name an anti-gay activist to the state civil rights commission? Or is this one that just slipped past him?

Democrats and Republicans are asking, “What was he thinking?”

Snyder seems to have rekindled the fight over LGBT rights in Michigan with his appointment of Ira Combs to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

LGBTQ Michiganders deserve legal protections

Feb 9, 2018
flickr user Charlie Nguyen / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

I am both a human being and a journalist, and so I’m not surprised by most human frailties. I understand jealousy and greed and theft. I understand get-rich-quick schemes, sexual and romantic desires that aren’t always appropriate, and overeating.

But I don’t understand why anyone would attack and severely injure or kill anyone for their sexual orientation.

injured piggy bank
Ken Teegardin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's savings account wouldn't last long if there was another economic downturn. That's according to new analysis from the Citizens Research Council.

The independent government watchdog says Michigan's "rainy day" fund is slowly recovering after it was drained during the Great Recession, but the state is still unprepared for a new downturn.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what needs to happen to get Michigan's piggy bank back in shape.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren.
bieda.senatedems.com

A teen was recently attacked in Muskegon County. Officials say it’s because he’s gay. Now prosecutors and lawmakers are calling on the legislature to expand the state’s hate crimes law.

A 17-year old boy was stripped of his clothes and assaulted. The evidence was clear to Muskegon County prosecutor D.J. Hilson – The teen was attacked because he was gay. But when he looked at the statute, he couldn’t charge the case as hate crime, which comes with increased penalties.

Hilson says it’s time for the Legislature to protect all citizens.

Commission delays LGBT bias decision, again

Nov 14, 2017
Allen Allen / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has tabled a request to interpret the state civil rights act to include protections for the LGBT community. The vote was 7-0, with one absent.

Yesterday was the second time since September that the commission has voted to delay a decision on a request made by Equality Michigan for an interpretation of whether sexual orientation and gender identity may be included under the state ban on sex discrimination. 

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The ACLU is challenging Michigan’s policy of allowing faith-based adoption agencies that accept public funds to turn away same-sex couples.

The lawsuit says the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is violating its own contracts with those agencies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. It also says the department’s policy violates First Amendment and equal protection rights in the U.S. constitution.

Kristy Dumont and her wife say they were turned away by two Catholic adoption agencies when they tried to adopt.

From left to right: Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell-Horowitz, Fair Michigan Justice Project President Dana Nessel, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP), a collaboration between the LGBTQ advocacy group Fair Michigan and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, began a little over a year ago, in July 2016.

It marks an important new approach to pursuing hate crimes committed against people who are LGBTQ. And it's especially noteworthy today, as this week the Michigan Civil Rights Commission declined a request to add protections for LGBTQ people to the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, a law designed to prohibit discrimination in our state.

Bill Schuette

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is asking state Attorney General Bill Schuette for a formal ruling on whether it has the authority to extend housing and employment protections to gay, lesbian, and transgender people. That’s after an attorney from his office torpedoed a proposal the commission was on the cusp of adopting.

The commission had just wrapped up a two-hour public hearing and weeks of work on the request from a gay rights organization. The group asked the commission to determine whether protections against sex discrimination apply to LGBT people.

Michigan civil rights commission
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A large crowd is expected Monday when the Michigan Civil Rights Commission is asked to revise how the word “sex” is interpreted under the state’s anti-discrimination law.

Michigan Dept. of Corrections

It started with a taping of a 90s daytime talk show. In March of 1995, The Jenny Jones Show did an episode about “secret same-sex crushes.” Scott Amedure, a Michigan resident, nervously gushed to the studio audience about his feelings for an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz. Schmitz was then brought out in front of the cameras, where Jones, the host, revealed that Amedure was his secret admirer.

“Did you have any idea that he liked you this much?” Jones asked.

Transgender people, the military and us

Jul 27, 2017
Jack Lessenbery
Michigan Radio

Forty years ago, I was in a special, high-pressure graduate program at the University of Michigan designed to make trained journalists out of otherwise hapless intellectuals like myself in a year and a half. It was an amazingly successful program.

Many of my classmates went on to jobs in senior management in places like both the New York and Los Angeles Times and the former International Herald Tribune.

President Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that the government “will not accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve in United States military.

A string of rainbow flags against a blue sky
Chomiji / flickr

LGBT activists say the state’s civil rights law is too vague when it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Now they’re calling on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to clarify the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act lists attributes people can’t discriminate for – like race, religion and sex.

 

Pixabay / Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Corrections has revised its policy on transition-related care for transgender inmates. Before the change, inmates were only allowed to receive hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery if this care was already scheduled before the person was incarcerated. Now, trans inmates can start this care in prison.

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An effort to investigate and prosecute crimes against LGBTQ people in Wayne County is expanding.

The Fair Michigan Justice Project was founded a little less than a year ago. It’s a partnership between Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office and the LGBTQ advocacy group Fair Michigan.

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Democrats in Lansing are taking another run at expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Democratic State Rep. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo and Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor have introduced bills to expand civil rights protection to people who are LGBT.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of East Lansing is being sued by a farmer who claims his religious views are being discriminated against.

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The largest national survey on transgender people in America shows a need for policy change in Michigan. That’s what a few transgender rights groups say.

Nearly 900 people in Michigan responded to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey and 22% said they faced mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression, while 17% said they had been fired before due to being transgender. 

Over a third of the respondents have been homeless at some point in their life, while only 14% of the country's population was homeless at the time of the survey. 

flickr user visionsofgrace / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

In some schools in Michigan, being a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or questioning high school student is welcomed and embraced. In other schools, LGBTQ kids have to stay in the closet or endure a backlash from homophobic students, or even teachers and administrators. 

Jackson City Council member Dan Greer says he will attempt to bring city clerk Randy Wrozek's job performance up for discussion at the next council meeting Apr. 25
Joe Gratz / flickr

Jackson city council member Dan Greer is criticizing the city clerk for mishandling petition signatures that caused a petition challenging the city of Jackson’s non-discrimination ordinance to be invalidated.

Last week, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered Jackson city clerk Randy Wrozek to invalidate petitions that had been blocking the city’s civil rights ordinance.

Pages