Legislation would block local protections for gays, lesbians

Oct 10, 2011

Republican state Representative Tom McMillin has proposed a law that would forbid civil rights protections that are more expansive than Michigan’s civil rights law.

The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.

Critics say the measure appears to violate the rights of local governments to conduct their own affairs. 

“This is up to local communities to decide what they want to do and how inclusive they wish to be," said Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Before Michigan had a civil rights law, it was the local communities that decided they wanted to adopt policies that provided protection against discrimination.”

Kaplan says there would be a lawsuit if the bill ever becomes law.