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Politics & Government

Attorney General Says Civil Rights Commission Policy Is Invalid

LGBTQ rally Capitol
Reginald Hardwick
People gathered at the Capitol in Lansing during the 2018 Michigan Pride Parade.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state’s Civil Rights Commission cannot consider discrimination complaints for sexual orientation or gender identity. As Capital correspondent Cheyna Roth reports, last May the commission adopted a policy that would have allowed LGBTQ people to file such complaints.

In a formal opinion Schuette says the commission essentially tried to reinterpret the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. He says there is nothing in the text of the law or in Michigan case law that says “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Because only the Legislature has the power to change Michigan law, the policy is unenforceable.

Opponents of the decision say this is a step back for the state and that Schuette is using his office to deny freedoms and equality to the LGBTQ community.

The opinion is binding on state agencies in Michigan unless the Legislature passes a new law or the opinion is overruled in court.

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