By Cryss Walker

(CBS Detroit) -A big win for LGBTQ rights came from Michigan’s Supreme Court.

New protections make the state’s civil rights laws more inclusive.

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“LGBTQ individuals deserve to be treated fairly and with the same dignity and respect as all people in the state of Michigan,” said Nancy Katz & Margo Dichtelmiller LGBT Rights Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Michigan Jay Kaplan.

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against religion, race, marital status and other civil liberties and now sexual orientation.

“Often with federal civil rights laws they don’t cover the area of public accommodations and the ability to utilize various services and businesses that are open to the public,” Kaplan said.

“So, that’s why Elliott-Larsen is such a comprehensive civil rights law that covers a panoply of all different kinds of situations.”

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Kaplan says the move is a historic victory. 

“They’ve had the ability to file civil rights complaints with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and  request that they be investigated, but now there clearly is a legal remedy to be able to go to court,” Kaplan explained.

The court voted 5-2 to add the word “sex” in Michigan’s civil rights law, protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Possibly sue for injunctive relief to prevent the discrimination, but also to be possibly compensated based on the actual harms that you suffered as a result of that discrimination,” Kaplan said.

 

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Cryss Walker