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LGBTQ rights campaign loses signature battle; turns to MI Supreme Court

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A petition campaign to add LGBTQ protections to Michigan’s civil rights law is over. That’s after the Michigan Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear an appeal of a ruling that the campaign failed to gather enough signatures.

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign struggled to collect signatures during the pandemic, and attempted partially fill the gap by trying to gather names electronically.

The order was terse, which is typical in this type of decision. It did not give any reason why it came to the decision to refuse the case, simply stating “…the court is not persuaded it should grant the requested relief.”

Spokesman Josh Hovey says the campaign is backing a separate Supreme Court case that says the law’s existing protections against gender discrimination also cover LGBTQ rights. He also says the Legislature can expand the law.

“We can’t go any further than the Michigan Supreme Court and so we’re going to continue the fight in the Legislature,” he said. “Elliott-Larsen still needs to be amended and LGBTQ people need to have equal rights.”

“We’ll focus on those paths first, and if still LGBTQ rights aren’t secured, I can’t rule out a future petition,” he told Michigan Public Radio.

The Court of Claims ruled last December that there’s no implicit recognition of LGBTQ rights in the law.

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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