LANSING — As the Michigan House of Representatives prepares for a vote on Senate Bill 4, an amendment to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to extend protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, Equality Michigan has mobilized more than 75 religious leaders representing thousands of Michiganders to call upon the House to pass the amendment.
Numerous religious exemption amendments to SB 4 have been proposed as the bill has moved through the legislature, but religious exemptions to civil rights laws are problematic and dangerous to the communities that civil rights laws aim to protect.
Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott states, “Freedom of religion is important to all Americans; it’s one of our nation’s fundamental values. That’s why it’s protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and listed as a protected class in Michigan’s civil rights bill. Many Michigan religious leaders agree that freedom doesn’t give any of us the right to impose our beliefs on others, or to discriminate.”
Equality Michigan commends the more than 75 religious leaders that signed on to the interfaith letter to Michigan’s House of Representatives. The letter reads,
“As clergy and faith leaders of different races, geographies, genders, and faiths, we believe there is universal and ample evidence across all of our beliefs, practices, and theologies that our shared humanity connects us to one another. We are therefore obligated to protect and care for each other…
It is in this light, that we support the passage of the amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, codifying an explicit and fair standard in which LGBTQ+ people in Michigan will realize the same protections and remedies for discrimination as everyone else in our State.”