Michigan has a statute that enhances punishment for assaults that are motivated by race, religion, national origin, or gender. Although the ACLU generally opposes statutes that enhance punishments, there are many civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex or gender and the ACLU believes that they should be interpreted as protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

In 2018 a woman named Kimora Steuball was shot and seriously injured by a man who was harassing her for being transgender. The assailant was prosecuted under Michigan’s hate crimes law, but the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the law does not cover crimes motivated by animus against transgender people. If the decision stands, it will likely affect whether people who are fired from their jobs or denied services in stores and restaurants based on their gender identity will be protected by any of Michigan’s civil rights laws.

In July 2020 the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Michigan Supreme Court to take the case and rule that assaulting someone because they are transgender is an assault motivated by gender in violation of state law.

(People v. Rogers; National ACLU Attorney John Knight; ACLU of Michigan Attorneys Jay Kaplan and Dan Korobkin.)