LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) and Rep. Kosowski (D–Westland), flanked by former Rep. John C. Stewart, paid tribute yesterday to the 40th anniversary of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the 95th birthday of former Gov. William G. Milliken, who signed the act into law.

“As elected officials, we should strive to exemplify the character of Governor Milliken, and Representatives Elliott and Larsen,” Sen. Bieda said. “These civil rights champions showed us that, in a time of deep partisan divide, we can still work together to do what is right for the people of Michigan.”

The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was passed in 1977, and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. The law is named after two legislators, Rep. Daisy Elliott (D–Detroit) and Rep. Marvin L. Larsen (R–Oxford) who set aside party politics to strengthen civil rights legislation in Michigan.

“Both Representative Stewart and Governor Milliken are men who effectively worked across the aisle during their time in Lansing to produce legislation that truly has benefited the citizens of Michigan,” Rep. Kosowski said. “It is my hope that this legislature can follow in their footsteps, so we can continue to move Michigan forward.”

Even though state law doesn’t guarantee protections for the LGBTQ community, more than 40 municipalities in Michigan have taken steps to add protections for employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. 

“We’ve made tremendous progress toward equality over the last few decades,” Sen. Bieda said. “This anniversary is not only a reminder of the work we’ve done, but of the work that we still have left to accomplish.”