Michigan Pride Flag Michigan ’s highest court ruled Thursday that the state’s civil rights protections preventing discrimination on the basis of sex also apply to sexual orientation and gender identity .
In a 5-2 decision, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of a same-sex couple and a transgender person, arguing that their civil rights were violated by businesses refusing them service, WOOD TV reported . The ruling is being heralded as a major victory for the LGBTQ community, but many are concerned about its implications for religious liberty.
“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily constitutes discrimination because of sex,” the majority opinion, written by Republican-nominated Justice Beth Clement, stated . “Accordingly, the denial of ‘the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or public service’ on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes discrimination ‘because of . . . sex.’”
Four Democrat-nominated justices joined Clement in the opinion that targets small businesses in the state that are not already subject to federal workplace laws.
In a dissent, Justice David Viviano expressed concern for religious liberty protections, according to Bridge Michigan. “This departs from the normal principle that courts will first consider whether an interpretation raises grave constitutional doubts before adopting that interpretation,” he wrote.
The case appeared before the Supreme Court after the Michigan Civil Rights Commission authorized the Department of Civil Rights to investigate complaints of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2018. Two businesses, Rouch World and UpRooted Electrolysis, sued in response to complaints filed against them, relying on their religious beliefs as the reason they do not serve gay and transgender people. The lawsuit also argued that the Civil Rights Commission did not have the authority to bypass the legislature and interpret Michigan […]
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