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Michigan Supreme Court rules that a ban against sex-based discrimination also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

The Michigan Supreme Court has declared that a state law prohibiting sex-based discrimination also bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — the 5-2 ruling marks a significant blow for Michiganders who oppose the LGBT agenda.

"At issue for our consideration is whether the prohibition of discrimination 'because of . . . sex' in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (the ELCRA) ... encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We hold that it does," the decision states. "Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily constitutes discrimination because of sex."

The case involved Rouch World, LLC, which had declined to host a same-sex wedding, and Uprooted Electrolysis, LLC, which refused to provide hair-removal services to a transgender woman. In both instances, the owners of the facilities felt that providing the requested services would have violated their religious beliefs.

The owners of Rouch World "explained that hosting and participating in a same-sex wedding ceremony would violate their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a sacred act of worship between one man and one woman," the opinion noted.

And in the other matter, "the owner of Uprooted Electrolysis, perceived the requested services to be centrally connected to Wolfe’s transgender identity and asserted that delivering these services would violate her sincerely held religious belief that sex is an immutable gift from God," according to the ruling.

"I take no issue with the merits of the policy adopted today by a majority of this Court," Justice Brian Zahra wrote in a dissent. "And this Court’s duty is to say what the law is, not what it thinks the law ought to be. But this is exactly what a majority of this Court has done here. The majority opinion declares that the ELCRA's prohibition of discrimination 'because of . . . sex' precludes discrimination because of sexual orientation—an interpretation that eluded the Legislature, the courts, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (the MCRC), the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (the MDCR), and the people of Michigan for the vast majority of the ELCRA’s 45-year existence."

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