Civil Rights Commission Adopts Model LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance
March 03, 2015
Municipalities across the state can use the model in drafting their own ordinances to provide protection for LGBT residents.
Farmington Hills, Mich. - In their meeting today at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) adopted a model non-discrimination ordinance that communities can use as a template in drafting their own ordinances to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination.
The model ordinance reads, in part:
It is the policy of the (City) to exercise its police power in order to ensure public safety, public health, and a person's general welfare. It is the intent of the (City) that no individual be denied equal protection of the laws, nor shall an individual be denied the enjoyment of his or her civil rights or be discriminated against because of age, color, disability, education, familial status, gender expression, gender identity, height, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or weight.
"The concept of developing a model non-discrimination ordinance grew from the fact that more than 30 Michigan municipalities have non-discrimination ordinances that vary significantly in their structure, wording and scope," said Arthur Horwitz, Chair of the MCRC.
"Some communities that have decided to explore developing and implementing their own non-discrimination ordinances have struggled to draft an initial document that attempts to fairly frame the items and considerations involved," said Horwitz. "After reviewing all of the existing Michigan non-discrimination ordinances, the commission's Department of Civil Rights developed model language that municipalities could access if, in their own discretion, they decided they wanted a starting point for their own discussions and deliberations."
The Commission's adoption of the model ordinance is in line with their 30-year history of support for expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to add protection for individuals on the basis of gender expression and gender identity.
In November of 2014, the Commission passed a resolution reaffirming their support for expanding ELCRA, and called on the legislature to add specific protection for sexual orientation and gender identity/expression to Michigan civil rights law. The Commission's resolution followed the publication of the Report on LGBT Inclusion Under Michigan Law, prepared by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and adopted by the Commission on March 25, 2013. The report outlines the potentially significant economic and societal costs to the state for not providing protection for LGBT individuals under law.
"Communities all over Michigan have been waiting for the legislature to expand civil rights law to protect their LGBT residents, and many are deciding they can wait no longer," said Matt Wesaw, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. "The right thing to do is to expand Elliott-Larsen to include protection for gender expression and gender identity. While we will continue to push for that expansion, I commend the Commission for taking this step to help Michigan communities provide protection from discrimination now for all the people living within their boundaries."
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to carry out constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability.
To learn more about the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, visit www.michigan.gov/mdcr. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/midcr and follow us on Twitter @MiCivilRights.