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Two State Officials Offer Little Perspective On Extending Civil Rights

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(WLNS) - A recent survey shows a majority of Michigan voters favor extending the Michigan civil rights law to include the LGBT community. However, two of the state's top officials say they have no position on that. 

6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has more.

For years the state's LGBT community has waited for lawmakers and the governor to include them in the state's civil rights law. Currently members of this community face the following.

"Should we be able to fire people because they are gay? Should they be exempted from housing because they are gay or lesbian?  I don't think so," said State Representative Sam Singh (D), East Lansing.

The governor has said he is open to having this civil rights discussion, but he has not taken a stance on expanding the law.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, given a chance to take a stance, did not. Although he did talk about discrimination. 

Calley: "I don't have a position for you today."

Reporter: "Should they have equal rights?"

Calley: "Discrimination is bad under any circumstances. And so I think it's an important debate that we have over the course of coming sessions and years if that's what the case is."

Reporter: "So you won't take a position on that now?"

Calley: "We're focused on getting the roads done, the budget done trying to create a better environment for jobs in our state."

Regarding Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, first his office indicated in a statement that he has no position, but then he says this:

"Nobody should be discriminated against in housing or employment or public accommodations and we need to make sure we respect the rights of the faith based organizations and religious values."

Now reasonable folks might infer that Schuette favors covering gays under the state civil rights law, but he would not go that far.

As far as democratic State Senator Gretchen Whitmer is concerned, she thinks public officials should get off the fence. "People deserve to know where our leaders stand on important issues," said Whitmer.

There could be debate on this after the election in November.

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