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Mich. legislature adjourns without final passage of ‘license to discriminate’ bill

Mich. legislature adjourns without final passage of ‘license to discriminate’ bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan state Senate adjourned it’s 2013-14 legislative session on Friday without considering a controversial religious freedom bill that critics say would allow discrimination against gays and others.

Michigan state capitol in Lansing.
Michigan state capitol in Lansing. Phillip Hofmeister (Wikimedia)

The Republican-led state House approved the bill on Dec. 4, but Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville never put the issue on the agenda in the final days of the lame-duck session.

The House version of the bill provided protections for “sincerely held religious beliefs,” but critics — including LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan — called it a “license to discriminate.”

Earlier in the month, House lawmakers adjourned a hearing without voting on a separate measure that would have updated the state’s anti-discrimination law — the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act — to include protections for LGBT citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations.

House Republican leadership said it supported including protections on the basis of sexual orientation, but not transgender residents, saying they’re already protected because sex discrimination is illegal.

Democrats said a “fully inclusive” bill for the entire LGBT community is needed.

Both bills can be reintroduced in the next legislative session.

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