The Michigan Senate approved a bill expanding civil rights to include sexual orientation and gender identity, potentially creating “impossible-to-resolve conflicts” for churches and other religious groups.
“We strongly believe Michigan should include protections for religious organizations in Senate Bill 4 to avoid faith-based organizations, particularly those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, from being targeted for litigation,” said Tom Hickinson, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Michigan Catholic Conference.
“Every state that has amended its anti-discrimination law … has included protections for religious organizations,” Hickinson added. “Unfortunately, Michigan appears to be going in an opposite and unprecedented direction.”
The Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) also opposes SB 4, arguing it could infringe on religious liberty and potentially violate the constitution.
“All of the other states that have passed legislation have done so with religious protections,” a CAIR representative told Fox News. “Michigan wants to be different. They want to be an outlier. And we don’t understand why of the other 22 states [that] have passed it, why Michigan can’t include the language.”
SB 4 is being touted by some as providing justice to the LBGT community. “This has been a long journey of real people who have suffered and people who have died waiting for this moment to come,” claimed Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, who identifies as homosexual and sponsored the bill. “We are taking this baton and running to the finish line.”
However, other lawmakers opposed the bill over the religious liberty concerns of Hickinson and CAIR.
“This legislation will create impossible-to-resolve conflicts for churches, individuals, employers and employees,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, one of 15 dissidents of the bill.
The move by Michigan Democrats come after recent criticism of the party for seemingly anti-religious stances.
Just a few weeks ago, after a tragic shooting occurred at Michigan State University, Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, the Democratic Majority Whip, tweeted, “F*** your thoughts and prayers.”
Even more neutral states, like Missouri and Maine, have incidents of liberal public officials openly criticizing religion.
But despite potential implications on religious liberty, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has indicated eagerness to sign the bill should it pass the House.