Issue Looms In Lansing As Push Continues For LGBT Rights In Michigan

LANSING (WWJ) — The country celebrates a milestone this week — it has been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

In Michigan, the push is on to expand the state’s civil rights law, the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, to include the LGBT community.

Leslie Fritz, deputy director of the Michigan Civil Rights department said that it is still legal in Michigan to discriminate against people who are even perceived to be gay.

“There’s a coalition growing in Lansing and it is certainly our hope that the Department of Civil Rights says that this year will be the year that the law is expanded and anti-discrimination protections are finally offered to LGBT individuals in this state,” Fritz said.

Fritz said that members of the LGBT community can still be fired, denied housing and even turned away from a restaurant or hotel in Michigan.

“For the first time, there is a bipartisan coalition that has come together that is working to get this expansion done,” Fritz said.

The federal civil rights law could also be expanded, but Fritz believes that due to the political climate in Washington, it is not likely to happen soon.

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