Michigan Gay Rights Activists Get Victory In An Unlikely Place

Mar 29, 2013

A new state law to fund harbor dredging is giving gay rights activists an unusual reason to celebrate.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher has more.

Governor Rick Snyder this week signed into law a new loan program to maintain private marinas. The law says marinas are not eligible for the program if they discriminate against customers based on a number of factors like race and religious beliefs.

That’s pretty common. But this law also puts sexual orientation on the list. And that’s very uncommon. It’s only the third time sexual orientation is even mentioned in state law.

The A-C-L-U of Michigan’s Shelli Weisberg says it sends a message to state lawmakers.

“That it’s something that they can cover, they can put into bills, they can talk about protecting as a class, and the world is not going to fall in,”  he says.

But until the state’s civil rights laws are changed, Weisberg says it will still be legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation in almost every setting.