Michigan Supreme Court considers allowing judges to use preferred personal pronouns

(WILX)
Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:45 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Supreme Court is considering changing rules on how judges address people in court. Under the proposal, judges would be required to use people’s preferred pronouns in official court proceedings.

This is to help prevent courts from misgendering someone.

More than 200 people have submitted comments to the supreme court on this issue. Members of the LGBTQ+ community say this will help people who are transgender feel more comfortable in the courtroom but people opposing this change say it’s not needed.

“Respect is what it’s all about,” said Rachel Crandall-Crocker.

Crandall-Crocker is one of many people across the state who are transgender. She said knowing a judge must use her preferred pronouns would make a difference.

“If I know that a person or a court or whatever really respects me, I’ll be able to loosen up,” said Crandall-Crocker.

Balancing equality while searching for truth can be challenging, especially with so many people wanting to keep the rules how they are.

Lawyers for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing said the change could violate a judge’s first amendment rights.

“We want to speak out on behalf of those Catholic individuals, as well as those people of other religious views as well as just anyone that might oppose this new ideology that is not representative of many people’s views,” said William Bloomfield, Catholic Diocese of Lansing lawyer.

Bloomfield said there are ways to respectfully address someone without using pronouns.

“We can refer to a person as a plaintiff or as a defendant or by their last names,” said Bloomfield.

The state supreme court said there’s nothing in the proposal that will stop the court from using those.

But Angie Martell, who chairs the LGBTQ+ section of the Michigan Bar Association, said having the court use pronouns is important for the LGBTQ community.

“When you say we don’t really care what your pronoun is, we don’t need to use your pronoun, that to me is really a level of disrespect,” said Martell.

The Michigan Supreme Court is taking written comments until July 1. There there will be a public hearing before the court decides if it will change the rules.

You can see the proposal and submit a comment on the Supreme Court’s website.

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