April O'Neil / news@WHMI.com

On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by Attorney General Dana Nessel, Senator Jeremy Moss, Representative Jason Hoskins, and other legislators, advocates, and allies to sign legislation expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). The bill reaffirms legal protections for sexual orientation and expands coverage to include gender identity and expression.

"Today, we are taking a long overdue step to ensure that no one can be fired from their job or evicted from their home because of who they are or how they identify,” said Governor Whitmer.

Originally passed in 1976, ELCRA prohibits discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of those rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status. Today’s changes to the ELCRA further protect the rights and freedoms of Michiganders by including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in the plain language of the act. The law has been amended nearly 20 times over the years to add new protections.

“No person in this State should experience barriers to employment, housing, education, or public accommodations and services because of who they are or who they love,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel “I have long fought for equal treatment under the law and am grateful to finally see those protections explicitly spelled out within our state’s statutes. This is a long overdue victory not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for all Michigan residents.”