After four-decade fight, 373,000+ residents, including those in Western Wayne, finally receive long-awaited protection and recognition   


LANSING, Mich. (March 17, 2023) — Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and the Michigan Senate Democrats continue to make history and tackle longstanding policy needs, recently passing Senate Bill 4 to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to provide protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Legislators have been working for more than four decades to see Michigan’s civil rights law explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity, and with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature yesterday, the bill officially becomes a law. 


“Legislation enshrining the right for our LGBTQ+ friends to have equal protections in employment and housing is long overdue,” said Sen. Polehanki. “Voting ‘yes’ on ELCRA expansion has been one of the highlights of my time in the Michigan Senate.” 


Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ+ Americans report having experienced discrimination in their everyday lives. Twenty-two states and more than 100 cities have adopted these common-sense, inclusive and comprehensive protections for LGBTQ+ people, and with the governor’s signature of the Senate legislation, Michigan becomes the 23rd state to adopt comprehensive non-discrimination laws.  


Eighty-three percent of Michiganders support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. The legislation has widespread support from a number of organizations and individuals, including the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, Corktown Health, the Detroit Police Department, medical professionals, faith leaders, spouses and parents.  


A number of businesses and economic organizations have also advocated for the legislation as a way to make Michigan a more welcoming, inclusive and competitive state. BASF, DOW, the Michigan Realtors Association, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, and Business Leaders for Michigan all have endorsed the legislation.  


Michigan is home to over 373,000 residents who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. According to a 2019 report from Out Leadership, Michigan received a D grade on its LGBTQ-friendly policies, scoring a sad 64.7 percent.