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2 April 2013

*Perception and reality in our society: “A Gallup poll reported nearly nine out of ten people think LGBT people are already protected. They are not. And, according to the pollsters, three out of four people believe they should be protected,” reports Lester Graham of Michigan Radio.

Michigan’s civil rights law, the Elliott-Larsen Act, does not protect sexual orientation in housing or other public accommodations.

It’s also legal in Michigan to fire someone for their sexual orientation.

However, as you can see on page 1 of the new law, Michigan’s loan program for dredging harbors affected by lower lake levels does include protections for sexual orientation. A private marina that wants a dredging loan cannot discriminate on that basis.

*A Senate committee voted out a bill to allow hospitals, doctors, etc. to deny services based on their religious views or conscience. Advocates say it protects a health professional’s right to religious freedom. Critics say it amounts to discrimination aimed at certain groups, such as gay residents and women who use birth control.

What’s never really answered in these debates, though, is how government is supposed to discern what is an appropriate and inappropriate religious view. If someone says it goes against their morals to perform an amputation, as one hypothetical, is that protected? If not, why not? Is the individual the arbiter of appropriate conscience or the state?

And if it is the state, isn’t that making lawmakers the gatekeeper on conscience?

*The arts scene is alive and doing quite nicely in U.P.

*Your early alert: PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” is coming to Detroit on June 1.

*Detroit’s new emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is profiled: “Kevyn and Donna Orr live in a leafy Maryland suburb just outside Washington, D.C. Their home in the Village of North Chevy Chase — assessed at nearly $1 million, but unremarkable among the 200 other homes in their affluent neighborhood — is near a busy corridor crossing from the District’s northwest sector to Maryland’s Montgomery County.”

2 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. D Whyte

    Religous bigotry, is still uhhhh, bigotry. It is a sad commentary on the make up of our Legislature that this pathetic attempt to provide camouflage for same via an unconscionable “conscience” exemption has passed the Senate. One will have to hope that the governor’s conscience is less politically driven, but his recent failures to veto divisive and bigotry driven legislation make it seem unlikely. I guess we can hope….

  2. Tam

    Where in the U.S. or Michigan Constitution does it say the government – in spite of their “great wisdom” – has the right to demand that any health professional do anything which is against their beliefs regardless of what those beliefs are? What happened to the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?” or simply the civil rights which many of us fought so hard for? Is it “biogotry” because you don’t agree it? Thank goodness we do have a Governor with a conscience – it seems people with a conscience, who comprehend civil rights for all – including health professionals, and can honestly say the Pledge of Allegiance are few and far between anymore.

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