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Michigan Civil Rights Commission Votes to Issue Interpretive Statement on Meaning of "Sex" in Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Ypsilanti - The Michigan Civil Rights Commission on Monday voted to issue an interpretive statement clarifying that under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, discrimination on the basis of sex includes protection against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Commissioner Alma Wheeler Smith introduced the motion to issue the interpretive statement on the ELCRA issue. The six Commissioners in attendance voted five in favor of issuing the interpretive statement with one abstention from Commissioner Ira Combs.

In July of 2017, Equality Michigan (EQMI) requested that the Commission issue an interpretive statement on the meaning of “sex” in ELCRA. The Commission tabled a decision at previous meetings in 2017 and 2018.

“I commend the Commission for the courage they’ve shown in making this decision,” said Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “Beginning tomorrow morning, the department will begin processing complaints of sex discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Read the Interpretive Statement here.

To leave a comment regarding the interpretive statement, email


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