MichMash: Michigan Senate passes historic LGBTQ legislation, heads to House

The expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, heads to the House for approval.

State Senator Jeremy Moss called March 1, 2023 one of the best days he’s served in the last eight years as a public servant in Michigan. This is because the state Senate passed a historic bill to protect LGBTQ rights against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This has been a goal of his since he was a state representative.

Moss joins MichMash host Cheyna Roth to discuss the impact the bill’s passing has on the state.

In this episode:

  • The impact that this law will have not only on the LGTBQ community but to all Michiganders at large
  • How this law was a bipartisan effort
  • Senator Moss’ desire to move Michigan’s presidential primary date earlier

Subscribe to MichMash on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, NPR.org or wherever you get your podcasts.

Sen. Moss reflected on the history that led to the passing of expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ rights in the Michigan Senate, which now goes to the House for approval.

“I’m the last leg of this race. There are people who started this journey fifty years ago…to ensure that our community is recognized in our civil rights law,” says Moss. He expressed how there have been many people who were discriminated against in the workplace, housing and more, and how this law would help prevent this practice from continuing to happen.

According to Moss, this law isn’t just beneficial for the LGTBQ community — it also benefits every resident in Michigan.

“There are two ways to view this. It is significant to the LGTBQ community. It recognizes our humanity and our dignity…that when people discriminate against us, there is a remedy to seek justice,” Moss explains. “It is also important for the state of Michigan economically. The effect of discriminating against an LGBTQ person in housing and employment is that you’re putting people outside of the state and out of our economy as consumers and workers.”

Moss believes the bill represents inclusivity and is a tool to attract and retain talent.

The current Democratic majority has impacted the success of this bill, a sharp contrast to when there was a Republican majority. Moss shares that between July-December 2022, the Republicans called him into session around five times and results were nonexistent. Moss touts that since the trifecta of the Democratic majority took power in January, there have been multiple victories in just in a short timespan with LGBTQ rights, gun safety, repealing the 1931 abortion felony and retirement tax, and more.

Moss recalls the lack of gay policymakers when he first started these conversations in the Legislature in 2014. There are now seven members among Michigan’s lawmakers who identify as LGBTQ. That’s why Moss was confident that the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion would have bipartisan votes, unlike the previous leadership in Lansing.

“Coming out is the most political thing you can do. If you have a gay colleague, a trans neighbor, an LGBTQ family member, you are most likely to support their humanity,” says Moss.

Expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act comes during a time when there are a lot of restrictions being put on members of the LGBTQ community. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a law banning gender-affirming care for minors, as well as a bill restricting drag shows. Other U.S. states where conservatives hold majority-power are considering adopting similar bills.

Sen. Moss is looking to be the antidote for that.

“I want voters to know that when you vote for people to deliver change, they can deliver that change. There is a way to change this madness,” says Moss. “Michigan should be a beacon of light. Republicans wanted to make a referendum on trans people and trans sports voters rejected it.”

Democratic majority making moves

There are other laws that are picking up speed in Michigan’s Legislature, including renewed effort on gun reform following the mass shooting at Michigan State University last month.

“We have been pushing in the Democratic minority for so long these bills that would be proven to reduce gun deaths in our state,” Moss shared. The gun law debates normally follow a similar trend of tragedy, proposing a law and nothing happening. Moss believes that cycle will end with Democrats in charge. “This will be the majority that acts on gun violence.”

Related posts:

Support the podcasts you love.

One-of-a-kind podcasts from WDET bring you engaging conversations, news you need to know and stories you love to hear.

Keep the conversations coming. Please make a gift today.

Give now »


  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.