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Michigan Supreme Court hears major gay rights case

Michigan Supreme Court posts approved plans to reopen trial courts
Posted at 1:42 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 14:39:30-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WXMI) — The Michigan Supreme Court is being urged to overturn key decisions and extend the state’s anti-discrimination law to gays and lesbians.

People who claim discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation have not been protected by Michigan’s civil rights law because the word “sex” in the law has been interpreted only as a reference to gender.

But Attorney General Dana Nessel says it’s time for the Supreme Court to recognize that Michigan’s anti-bias law means much more.

“I have long fought for equal treatment under the law,” says Nessel. “I was proud to represent our client agency this morning, as well as the people of our vibrant state. No one should experience barriers to employment, housing, education, or public accommodations and services because of who they are or who they love.”

In 2019, Rouch World, a park and event center in Sturgis, declined to host a same-sex wedding, saying it conflicted with the owner’s religious beliefs.

But lawyers for Rouch World say it’s up to the Legislature, not courts, to expressly state that Michigan law bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.