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AG Nessel to Argue ELCRA Prohibits Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation Before MSC

LANSING - In one week, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will argue before the Michigan Supreme Court that the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) prohibits discrimination because of an individual's sexual orientation. 

"No person in this State should experience barriers to employment, housing, education, or public accommodations and services because of who they are or who they love, and yet for decades-despite the ELCRA's clear prohibitions to the contrary-LGBTQ+ individuals have wrongly encountered these barriers," Nessel said. "It is not lost on me that in addition to representing our client agency before the Michigan Supreme Court, I will also be representing the LGBTQ+ community and their families in what could mark a historic and long overdue recognition of their protections from discrimination. In Michigan's fight for civil rights, I look forward to presenting the State's argument next week and remain focused on fighting for laws that properly reflect the diversity of our vibrant state and all who call Michigan home." 

The lawsuit, Rouch World LLC et al v Michigan Department of Civil Rights et al, was brought by businesses that denied services to customers who were either a same-sex couple or an individual who was transitioning their gender identity. In October, on behalf of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) and the director of the MDCR, Nessel filed a bypass application in the Michigan Supreme Court.  

The Michigan Supreme Court agreed the case warranted immediate review and set an argument date for next Wednesday, March 2, at 9:30 a.m., which can be streamed live by following this embedded link and clicking on the in-person proceedings option

"The Michigan Civil Rights Commission got it right when they issued their 2018 interpretive statement, and their courage has led to this historic and consequential case before Michigan's highest court." MDCR Executive Director John E. Johnson Jr. said. "We are confident Michigan's Supreme Court will correctly interpret the language the Legislature used nearly 50 years ago and confirm the common-sense understanding that the phrase 'because of ... sex' in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act encompasses sexual orientation." 

The October brief can be found on the Department of Attorney General website