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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Republican leaders ask Mich. AG to say commission's LGBTQ decision illegal

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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.

"Numerous federal district and appeals courts have already concluded that federal civil rights laws prohibiting sex discrimination cover discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations," the ACLU says.

But the letter by Meekhof and Leonard argues the commission's action amounts to an amendment of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, something only the legislature can do.  

"By attempting to rewrite ELCRA beyond its plain meaning and underlying intent, the commission's interpretive statement not only violates the APA (the state's Administrative Procedures Act), but it also threatens to undermine our system of government," the two legislators wrote.

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