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MI Civil Rights Department Taking LGBT Discrimination Complaints

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The state Department of Civil Rights is now accepting complaints from people who say they’ve faced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. As we hear from Capital Bureau Chief Rick Pluta, it’s also getting ready to defend its right to do so.

The state civil rights commission this week changed its interpretation of Michigan’s civil rights law. It now includes being refused housing or employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity as forms of sex discrimination.

Attorney David Kallman says his firm is looking for clients to challenge the commission’s decision. He says the commission can’t change the rules unless the Legislature changes the law.

“It’s such an abuse of power, it’s unbelievable to me.” Kallman says.

An attorney for the department says a legal challenge would be welcome as a way to settle the question. He says the commission is confident its position will be upheld due to recent federal court decisions.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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