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MSU College of Law



November 14, 2011

CONTACT: Kent A. Love, Director of Communications

Is Hate a Michigan Value?

A Panel Discussion on the Current “Anti-Gay” Legislation in the Michigan House and Senate

East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law will hold a panel discussion on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, examining four proposed bills that could impact Michigan citizens and the ability for Michigan businesses and universites to attract and retain talent.

The panel will explore the legal and economic arguments against the proposed legislation. Panelists include Christy Mallory, co-author of the recent Williams Institute report titled “Economic Motives for Adopting LGBT-Related Workplace Policies;” Jay Kaplan, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, who will outline and provide legal analysis on the proposed legislation; and Bart Feinbaum, principal counsel at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, who will discuss the implications of this legislation on the state and the impact on the insurance industry. Melanie Jacobs, MSU College of Law professor of law, will moderate the discussion.

House Bills (HB) 4770, 4771, 5039, and 5040 currently are making their way through the Michigan Legislature.

  • HB 4770 and HB 4771 are tie-barred bills that would restrict public employers from providing medical and other benefits to anyone living with a public employee unless the individual is married to the public employee, a dependent of the public employee, or a valid inheritor to the employee’s intestate will under Michigan’s intestate successor laws.
  • HB 5039 prohibits any state agency or unit of local government from creating a protected class classification that is not expressly included in Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Because the Act does not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected characteristics, HB 5039 would ban hundreds of laws enacted by municipalities to protect citizens from discrimination.
  • HB 5040 proposes that counseling, social work, and psychology students can refuse to counsel or serve a client as to goals that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions. This bill would violate campus discrimination policies and the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics, which forbids counselors from discriminating in their practice or imposing their own values, attitudes, and beliefs on their clients. If passed, this bill could lead to accreditation hurdles for Michigan counseling, social work, and psychology programs.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the MSU College of Law Diversity Services Office, MSU College of Law Triangle Bar Association, Michigan State University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student Association (FLFSA), and MSU’s Alliance of Queer & Ally Students. The event will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in MSU College of Law’s Castle Board Room (Room 343). Lunch will be served.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed at this event are those of the panelists and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Michigan State University College of Law.

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world’s problems. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law’s commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.


320 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

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