State Representative Frank Foster has introduced House Bill 5959 -- a bill to amend Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include "sexual orientation" as a protected class -- in the Michigan House of Representatives. This bill seeks to create "protections" for homosexuals in the Civil Rights Act, and if passed, would seriously infringe on religious freedom in Michigan.
As we noted before, House Speaker Jase Bolger is seeking to pair the Foster bill with a Michigan version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been introduced as House Bill 5958. Unfortunately, however, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), whether at the federal or state level, may not give as much protection as originally thought. According to the United States Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case, the Federal RFRA does not "provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.” In other words, there is no guarantee that the RFRA would protect religious groups, including churches.
Regarding the risks of passing House Bill 5959, Citizens for Traditional Values notes:
All one needs to do is look at other states that have passed similar legislation to see what will be coming to Michigan. Christian business owners in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, New York, Colorado, and other states are facing fines, legal action, and potentially the loss of their businesses, all for simply exercising their religious freedom and rights of conscience.
Remember that Frank Foster was defeated in a Republican primary earlier this year, in large part because of his support for homosexual "marriage." With the help of Speaker Bolger, Rep. Foster is now seeking to push this legislation through in the lame duck session before his pro-traditional marriage successor takes his seat in January.
Read the Citizens for Traditional Values white paper on the issue here.