With summertime in full swing, the House is on break through August—but the Senate will be working a least through the end of June. Senate leadership scheduled the summer session so that they could advance a road funding plan, and if that plan is approved I suspect they will take the remainder of the summer off as well.
We expect some legislative reaction to the US Supreme Court decision that struck down as unconstitutional laws against the freedom to marry. Overall, the reaction to the ruling in Michigan has been unsurprising—mostly elation and relief with several conservative leaders bemoaning the ruling and others simply accepting it. All of the county clerk’s in Michigan issued marriage licenses. However, we expect that the Senate will move to pass a RFRA bill this summer to create an avenue for those who object to marriage equality to discriminate against LGBT couples. All the more reason, of course, for us to continue to advocate for LGBT protection in our civil-rights laws even as we celebrate the marriage decision. Bills to update the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) have been introduced in both the House and Senate and we are focusing our resources on getting those to the Governor’s desk.
Many people in Michigan don’t realize that, even though marriage is now legal for LGBT couples, discrimination against LGBT individuals remains legal. So despite the major step forward the country took with last week’s marriage ruling, the journey to LGBT quality is far from complete.