Battle for gay rights far from over in Lansing

Same-sex couples now legally allowed to marry in Michigan and across the country after last week's historic supreme court ruling.

But that's not stopping the debate among conservatives in Lansing.

Now there's a new push for laws that would limit the expansion of gay rights in our state.

Even though the U.S. Supreme court declared gay marriage to be legal, in Lansing the debate is not died down as conservatives are expected to push new legislation that would protect some citizens from the expansion of gay rights.  

The gay rights issue is not dead in the Michigan Legislature.

In fact this pro-LGBT Democrat sees conservative Republicans trying to take the edge off the high court decision.

"I think that's what we're hearing already," said Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). "So I wouldn't be surprised to see something popping up very quickly.

In fact this GOP senator is on a mission to as he puts it "protect everybody."

"I'm trying to protect everybody in Michigan who has closely held religious beliefs," said Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake). "I think the states have the responsibility to step in and make sure they are protecting their citizens."

On another front, the state civil rights law now protects newly married gay couples but, the law still makes it legal to fire anyone who is gay.

"And to say under Michigan law now you have a legal right to be married to your same-sex partner but you can be fired or denied housing for announcing your marriage?" Warren said. "We need to address that in our state very soon."

But what about the rights of those who oppose gays, this senator wonders.

"What does it do to the average businessperson that says I don't want to provide a reception for a gay wedding," said Sen. Rick Jones (Judiciary Chair). "I don't want to change the law that would hurt the businessperson who does not want to go against their religion."

The senate Democrat leader Jim Ananich is hoping Republicans won't stand in the way of gay rights.

"i can always hope," he said. "I hope that constituents across the state call their senators to put aside this hatred and make everyone equal in Michigan."

The battle over gay rights far from being over.


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