A new interpretation of Michigan’s current ban on sex discrimination now includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
This was determined by the state’s civil rights commission’s 5-0 decision, reports the Detroit Metro Times. Dan Levy, the director of law and policy for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights who championed the interpretation, says the ruling is “opening the door to the hall of justice.”
The request to add an interpretation to the ban came from Equality Michigan after federal courts upheld a ruling that supported a trans woman who was illegally fired from her job at a funeral home. The request was first submitted by the group in July 2017 but was tabled twice after Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office determined that Equality Michigan didn’t have the authority to make the decision.
This additional interpretation of the ban will help ensure that Michigan’s LGBT residents are legally protected from discrimination.
On the decision to extend the interpretation, Levy said, “It basically directs the civil rights department to take complaints [based on sexual orientation or gender identity] and it lets people who are landlords or employers know that they will be subject to an investigation and if we find discrimination based on these things we will take them to a hearing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we will win a hearing—that’s when the courts will ultimately end up deciding the issue.”