LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Friday said the state civil rights commission’s interpretation of a civil rights law was “invalid,” local media reported.
The Detroit News reported that Schuette said in a formal opinion that “the Michigan Civil Rights Commission overstepped its authority when it determined that an existing ban on “sex” discrimination also prohibits bias on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The commission’s ruling had be considered a victory when it was made a few months ago. In June, Republican members of the state legislature requested that Schuette roll back the ruling.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Schuette’s opinion was addressed to Republican leaders. The News reported that Schuette is term limited as AG and is currently running for Michigan governor.
The law bans discrimination based on sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, and sexual harassment. But the doesn’t mention sexual orientation or sexual identity, the Free Press reported.
Stephanie White, Equality Michigan Executive Director, gave this statement on Equality Michigan’s Facebook page:
“The Michigan Civil Rights Commission acted lawfully when it issued Interpretative Statement 2018-1. Specifically, the Commission voted to adopt as Interpretive Statement 2018-1 that “discrimination because of…sex” includes discrimination because of gender identity and discrimination because of sexual orientation.
“It is imperative that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission defend its interpretation as the Attorney General’s Opinion does not have the force of law, and cannot bind state agencies.
“While the Attorney General continues to polish his anti-LGBT credentials in a contested Gubernatorial race, today’s overreach cuts at the Commission’s core constitutional authority, which should concern everyone.”