Michigan Supreme Court rules anti-discrimination law protects LGBTQ

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - LGBTQ Michiganders are now protected from discrimination thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling last week.

Marissa Wolfe of Marquette is a transgender woman.

She was denied service by Uprooted Electrolysis in Gwinn in 2019.

“I was seeking facial electrolysis which is facial hair removal and I have to go to a place out of state and take time off work to go there,” Wolfe said. “It wasn’t cost-effective for me to do that because I was taking time off work and losing out on other things I shouldn’t have to fight and this was a local person I could’ve gone to and her immediate reply was ‘according to my religion you are a man.’”

Court documents say Uprooted argued that, participating in the transition process from a man to a woman by providing hair removal services conflicted with its sincerely held religious beliefs. Wolfe’s case was included in a lawsuit alongside Natalie Johnson and Megan Oswalt.

They filed a lawsuit against a venue in Sturgis that denied the couple from using its space for their wedding.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled 5-2, that all sexual orientations are protected under the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The ruling was based on the decision that the term “sex” in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act applies to all sexual orientations, not just gender.

Wolfe says although it was hard to be a victim of discrimination, she hopes it inspires others to stand up to injustice.

“It was worth it,” Wolfe said. “It was worth every second of it. I’m glad I’m making a difference and glad people are able to celebrate being themselves.”

A staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan says the decision is a big win.

“This provides probably the most comprehensive civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community in Michigan than we’ve ever had before,” LGBT Project ACLU of Michigan Staff Attorney Jay Kaplan said.

Kaplan says now the ACLU is focused on fighting discrimination against transgender athletes in Michigan.

View our other story to read more about the court’s ruling.

Copyright 2022 WLUC. All rights reserved.