State Rep. Tom Kuhn today voted against a proposed amendment of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act – highlighting a lack of protection for girls’ and women’s sports as well as for religious freedom.
The state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in Michigan based on “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status” in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations. The Michigan Supreme Court has already held that Elliott-Larsen protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
But if the state is going to update the civil rights act, Kuhn said it’s imperative that women’s rights and religious freedoms be taken into consideration. “We need to allow our girls’ and women’s sports associations the right to restrict their sports organizations to females if they so choose.”
Kuhn said the plan works against the basis of Title IX, which ensures fair competition in sports between male and female athletes. Kuhn’s amendment to the legislation would have allowed girls’ and women’s sports associations the right to preclude biological males from female sports in public associations if they so choose, and a similar amendment Kuhn supported would have allowed schools to preclude biological males from female sports in schools.
“This bill could have a chilling effect on girls’ sports in Michigan,” Kuhn said. “Our girls and women have a right to a fair playing field. Biological males competing against them does not respect this principle. It’s the wrong message to send to our female students and athletes who train hard, work for scholarships and seek fair competition.”
Senate Bill 4 now advances to the governor for consideration. House Bill 4003 moves to the Senate for additional review.
“Today, the state continued to embrace a broken budgeting process that leaves the public confused and left behind. We participate in these meetings where leaders glaze over huge issues that sound nice on paper but make little sense when you dig into the details. Our budgeting process needs a complete overhaul so we can start focusing more on the details and less on fancy buzzwords.”
“The most important focus for our community colleges should be student success,” Kuhn said. “Unfortunately, too many students graduate from our high schools with insufficient skills to successfully complete two years of community college. We want to assure that all students who have access to community college, also have access to be successful at the community college level. I don’t see any commitment in the Governor’s State of the State that addresses the need for student success.”
“All of our state government needs to be subject to FOIA requests, plain and simple,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “There are two states in our country that exempt their Legislature and governor from FOIA requests, and we’re one of them. This lack of transparency and accountability is completely unacceptable. Our plan allows for added public oversight of all government and increases penalties for non-compliant public bodies.”
“Families entrust these state-run facilities with the care of their vulnerable loved ones, and they deserve complete transparency if there has been any negligence on the part of the state,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “The OAG audit will unseal any bad practices and allow the Legislature to have a wholistic view of how these facilities operate. Elected officials have a duty to step in and take corrective action if the facility is giving families in our community substandard care. This audit is the first step in that process.”