• Source: Flickr
  • Breaking: Michigan House Passes Religious 'License To Discriminate' Bill

    Michigan House Republicans just passed a religious "license to discriminate" bill, which would allow anyone to refuse service to anyone and claim their "religious beliefs" require them to discriminate.

    The Michigan House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jase Bolger (photo, above, left, with Gov. Rick Snyder,) just passed a bill that would allow discrimination to become sanction by the state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, akin to one that made nationwide headlines in Arizona but was vetoed, appears to merely force the government to step aside if a person's "deeply-held religious beliefs" mandate they act, or not act, in a certain manner.

    Supporters of these bills claim they allow people of faith to exercise their religion without government interference, but in reality, they are trojan horses, allowing rampant discrimination under the guise of religious observance.

    For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor's prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver's license to a person who is divorced. 

    Michigan Speaker Bolger fast-tracked the bill, which passed on partisan lines, 59-50. It now heads to the Michigan Senate, and if successful, to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. It is not known if Gov. Snyder would sign it. 

    RELATED: Kansas Republican Promises To Pass Anti-Gay Marriage 'Religious Freedom' Bill

    “I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said today. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”

    MLive reports that Michigan's RFRA is "modeled after a federal version that the Supreme Court has said should not apply to states."

    Editor's note 12.07.14 3:33 PM EST: Without noting the change, (Google cache of original article, screenshot should that change,) MLive's article now reads: 

    The Michigan RFRA, modeled after a federal version that the Supreme Court has ruled does not apply to states, would establish a two-part balancing test for legal challenges, according to Bolger.

    “The idea that we need to ‘restore’ religious freedom — rights that are already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — is a farce created by conservative lawmakers for the sole purpose of appeasing their far-right donors and the religious-right,” Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said in a statement.

    Earlier today a Michigan House committee failed to pass an LGBT non-discrimination bill after a local anti-gay pastor delivered scathing testimony. 

    "No one from the LGBT community has ever had fire hoses turned on them by the police department, they have never had to drink out of an LGBT water fountain," Stacy Swimp told the committee. "There is no record of LGBT — homosexuals, lesbians being forced to sit at the back of the bus in an LGBT section."

    Some responses via Twitter:


    Image via Flickr

    Get weekly news & updates
    Support our work DONATE

    Register to VOTE

    Showing 107 comments

    Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

    • commented 2015-11-25 13:22:13 -0500
      What happened to the Constitution that separates government from religion ?

    • commented 2015-09-25 19:55:36 -0400
      The AntiChrist is alive and well in #Michigan.. I can think of nothing Less Christ like than this bill. #WWJD means nothing to these people, let alone the message this Pope of the People is bringing to the least of us! If I were from Michigan I would be so ASHAMED!

    • commented 2015-09-25 16:33:51 -0400
      Hi Cristian! I found a blank fillable MI Statutory Will form here: http://pdf.ac/1jlGg4

    • commented 2015-09-18 20:16:39 -0400
      Interesting comments , I loved the facts ! Does anyone know if my business might be able to get access to a fillable MI Statutory Will example to complete ?

    • commented 2015-04-16 05:59:11 -0400
      14th Amendment (Section 1, excerpted): “No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

      Supreme Court in Marbury v Madison, 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall for the unanimous court (excerpted): “A law repugnant to the Constitution is void.”

    • commented 2015-04-09 17:49:21 -0400
      When so we get to discriminate against anti-gay “Christian” filth?

    • commented 2015-04-08 23:59:08 -0400
      Well I think this is pretty clear and from what I can see seems to be the religious extreme Christian Reich’s well designed plan.

      1. Keep everyone as poor as possible. Do not raise the minimum wage and cut overtime benefits. Of course cut all food stamp benefits to keep them physically weak and feeling defeated early on in this process.

      2. Make sure you set it up so that the people you really loath (you know, those African Americans, Jewish people, middle eastern people, those gays, bi’s, lesbians and transgendereds) have no rights, no equality, no say. Make sure you are able to discriminate against them and then when they lash out you have the religious freedom already in place through law of the land to execute rule number 3.

      3. Make it as simple as possible to obtain a gun and kill people that don’t share your values or ideas or threaten your religious freedoms.

      Sorry this may sound harsh but look at the record as to what’s going on. We have to keep fighting. This reminds me of a movement we all but blew to pieces some 70 years ago. More amazing to me is how many people are buying into this with conviction. That’s super frightening.


    • commented 2015-04-08 23:59:08 -0400
      Their putative “concern of their eternal salvation” is limited to gays and gays only. They have not the slightest problem selling high calorie food to fat people who are sinning with gluttony, alongside divorced people, widowed people, people of different religion and mixed race couples who are getting married – EVERY ONE of which against the very same bible’s rules they mendaciously are claiming to follow.

      It’s pick and choose Christianity, so don’t expect that we’ll let them away with their hypocrisy, especially when it forces us to drive 40 miles into the next one-horse Bible Belt town, which also may not serve gay couples either.

      Many LGBT already are running businesses, but to expect me to start an LGBT friendly wedding catering business just so I can buy a goddam cake is preposterous.

    • commented 2015-04-08 23:55:34 -0400
      Everyone is losing their minds!!! Would someone please remind extremists of a few things.

      1. Contrary to Fox News Christians are not being persecuted or discriminated against by the LGBTQ community.

      2. Many in the LGBTQ community are in fact Christians that is at least until they have been driven away in shackles by the conservative radical “christian” movement.

      3. Discrimination is not a Christian value nor a political value from either the republican or democratic perspective (tea party? Well who the hell knows).

      4. Does the Republican Party now understand why it is so critical to add language to our already existing ANTI-Discrimination legislation? To protect the LGBTQ community from these groups that truly believe discrimination is ok. Groupies like the Family research Counsel.

    • commented 2015-04-08 16:40:31 -0400
      They want to deny the climate change reality, so when it starts happening they can claim it’s God’s judgement for the sins of whichever group the choose to demonize.

    • commented 2015-03-24 06:06:00 -0400
      What are they gonna do make LBGTs where rainbows on their shirts so they can tell whos who ? this is country is backsliding into the dark ages I cant understand how these republicans can oppress anyone and use RELIGEON as a weapon to get their way , ITS UNCONSTITUTIONAL to DISCRIMINATE so how did they get away with this ?

    • commented 2014-12-19 10:17:57 -0500
      If this bill passes I will Personally Sue the state of Michigan for Violating my 1st amendment rights “Separation of Church and State”

    • commented 2014-12-15 22:31:07 -0500
      Dominic, you are comparing life-saving treatment to getting gas. Do you realize how idiotic that sounds? Medical professionals should be expected to deal with all kinds of people who walk through their doors. If they can deal with a sick patient literally shitting on them, they can set aside their bigotry for a second to treat someone who’s done no harm to them. If politicians were pushing for legislature that allowed medical staff to discriminate against straight people, I can guarantee you would be singing a different tune. Agreeing with this bill is sick and appalling

    • commented 2014-12-13 09:11:58 -0500
      Dominic, it’s those people that claim to live by the religion but don’t and expect others to, it’s those people I have a problem with. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and most Democrats do not do that. Do I really need to explain what makes one worse than the other?

    • commented 2014-12-13 08:02:07 -0500
      This is about religious freedoom. Many Americans feel they must refuse to work with people who want to do things against their faith.

      They suffer genuine distress when asked to dispense birth control, talk to same sex couples, teach evolution, help people not of their faith, etc.

      If they were refusing to work with people you didn’t approve of then you’’d be much less angry.

      What if a KKK member came to a gas station in his full gear and the black attendendant refused to serve him ?

      What if one of the people who voted for this measure came into your restaurant, would you feel it OK to refuse to serve them ?

      What if a science teacher refused to go no a school trip to a Creationist museum ?

      But ! , you will say but that is because we/they are good people and thus what we do is good.

      You vote for openly Christian politicans and every time you do not ridicule someone for saying how they don’t believe in Evolution, Climate Change, Geology, History or mathematics, you make them stronger.

      You give money to politicans who are Christians, Barach Obama openly talkes of his faith, as if it does not betray him as a peasant. Hilary Clinton says her favourite book is The Bible. Yes. She’s either lying or just the saort of person who will pander to to hysterical superstition.

      Oops, I forgot, they are Democrats so their membership of medieval ignorance cults is OK, because theY “genuinely believe”.

      So that’s all right then.

    • commented 2014-12-11 16:16:36 -0500
      NOTE: BREAKING THIS IS NEWS!: #Seoul mayor agrees to meet gay activists occupying city hall for FIVE DAYS: http://t.co/0DNDmFUFx1
      Hey ‪#‎Michigan‬ legis pay attention the Mayor of ‪#‎Seoul‬ did!
      Presumably the Mayor was acknowledging, as so very well stated by the Manager of PROUD venue in Camden, England, when asked by large auto company if their place was ‘gay’…. He just cancelled the guy out saying:
      ‘Homophobia is homophobia, we don’t care what religion you are.
      Proud Camden (@proudcamden) December 5, 2014

    • commented 2014-12-11 15:07:26 -0500
      MEANWHILE…How do we start and Online ‘I HATE MICHIGAN’ Boycott…?

    • commented 2014-12-11 15:06:39 -0500
      OKAY we need some supporters there to NOT SELL MEAT ‘because they are Hindu’ …to NOT SELL anything to anyone not following SHARIA LAW because they are Muslim…etc…

    • commented 2014-12-10 16:30:49 -0500
      On the flip side, a gay EMT could refuse treatment to a christian he was responding to!

    • commented 2014-12-10 12:49:03 -0500
      So if you support this, How does one identify the sexual preference of say, an unconscious naked person? Do they have a bar-code? A label on the back of their neck? Or will the next bill be to tattoo numbers on them??

    • commented 2014-12-10 12:40:11 -0500
      James Sager – Most of the responses already given, put your sentiment in its place. I wanted to challenge your nonsense about the comfort in the faces of those that shared your faith. Studies like the one below with the terminally ill, say the exact opposite, in fact the most faithful suffer more and they fear more, than those who are unbelievers. Perhaps the faithful think if they keep telling themselves otherwise, as you do, somehow it will be true.

    • commented 2014-12-10 09:39:03 -0500
      James Sager : about Matt 5:15-16 15, that’s a good one lol … but I’m not certain this apply here, for the least. This scripture doesn’t talk about practicing religion in front of people, as the quote I gave was suggesting, but to be an example. And i’m not sure that discrimination can be considered as an example, in christian terms … But maybe that’s only me …

    • commented 2014-12-10 05:49:42 -0500
      James Sager: I have had nine heart attacks, (plus open heart and quadruple by-pass surgery) saw the horror of Vietnam (and Afghanistan), lived in civilizations more corrupt than I imagined possible and know first-hand discrimination against people based on one faith (Iran hangs LGBT people for the crime of being themselves; Uganda and Ivory Coast shoot those who do not conform), and I fail to see the need for a god and am aghast that the mental malaise covering the planet from Russia where (the Russian Orthodox church calls on its adherents to “persuade” with fists and knives LGBT to “return to nature’s call”, listened to victims dying of “honor killings” in Pakistan morn their loss of an life to live with someone (heterosexual or homosexual) who was not approved by the family patriarch and find no difference in what Michigan and other hate-filled states are doing and what was done in backward Third World Nations—a copy in fact of Nazi Germany.

      To support the insanity of Michigan’s legislature is tantamount to endorsing the pogroms of the German Third Reich. The speeches and the proposed legislation is equal in every way to §175 StGB; (also known as Paragraph Section 175 in English) was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 15 May 1871 to 10 March 1994, objecting to " “…mit einem anderen Mann Unzucht treibt oder sich von ihm zur Unzucht mißbrauchen läßt”.and saw more than 140,000 convicted of the crime of following natural law and inclination and between 1940-1945 leading to the brutal execution or death by starvation of between 5000 and 15000 human beings. Thinking, rational beings who are not afraid of other people’s natural sexuality (a person is born LGBTQ, as it is not a choice) will fight this vicious venomous idiocy and the miscreants pushing .it into a renewed Dark Age birthed with Koch Brother money.

    • commented 2014-12-10 03:54:03 -0500
      James Sager – Your God gives you a heart attack, allows your son to die and stands by and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING while millions die in wars like the one you fought in, and you’ve still swallowed what the evangelist hucksters sold you out of a particular translation of an old anthology cobbled two thousand years ago? The only "fear and uncertainty’ I’m hearing is coming from you at what you’ve said is your pending demise.. Why should we take any notice of YOUR God when there are so many other gods out there from over 41,000 other Christian gods whose opinion on homosexuality flatly contradicts what yours wrote in his book, and there are over 1000 conflicting translations of that too? In fact, you have adduced nothing even remotely convincing from a god who has failed to intervene EVER to answer the prayers of 6 million Jews slaughtered by Nazis 1939-45, or anywhere else. I thank you for your military service and I’m happy if your religious belief gives YOU peace over the coming days, months or years, but you have neither right nor obligation to shove your religious belief down the throats of others or a different belief or no belief at all. I wish you well but your prayers are for your own sanctimony and you alone.

    • commented 2014-12-10 00:38:52 -0500
      Not to mention the fact that the constitution is even being interpreted this way is just digusting. I really can’t imagine what type of brain and thought process it takes to even think this bill makes any sense what so ever. What happened to walk a mile and then walk another mile. Get over yourselves already. please.

    • commented 2014-12-10 00:23:38 -0500
      Oh boy. Religious right be careful what you ask for. This type of republican or conservativism is nothing but dangerous. You want to talk about who’s pushing an agenda. I say pass this make it law and sit back and get ready to laugh your asses off when the legal shit storm starts. Michigan will quickly become the comedians dream come true.

    • commented 2014-12-09 23:33:37 -0500
      Derek Williams (and others) – I read what all of you write and there is one continues line in what you say. There is fear and uncertainty in your writings even if you refuse to admit it. I am cretin in my belief and faith in Jesus Christ. It has remained unshakeable during my heart attack, during the death of our son, and during my time in Vietnam. I saw many deaths both American and Vietnamese and the only ones I saw that had a calm about their faces were those who believed in Christ. I will pray for all of you as I have done before and will continue to do in the future. I pray that you can find the peace I have found as I have only a few days left in my life here on Earth and look forward to the time I come into God’s arms.

    • commented 2014-12-09 14:07:45 -0500
      Derek, yes, but I believe the difference is that Hobby Lobby allows employers to treat employees a certain way, while the precedents I submitted were cases where an employee of an organization behaved in a certain way based upon his religious beliefs, the employer forced him to act otherwise or terminate employment, the employee sued and SCOTUS ruled in favor of the employer. In both of the cases I mentioned, employees claimed that working on specific days violated their personal religious beliefs. The court ruled that an employer does not have to honor an employee’s religious beliefs if it causes “hardship or loss of revenue” for the employer.
      If Mr. and Mr. Jones walk into Taco Bell holding hands and the counter clerk refuses to serve them because homosexuality is against his religion, that is an obvious loss of revenue for Taco Bell. If the Taco Bell manager tells the clerk to either serve the customer or be fired, the employee does not have a legal leg upon which to stand.
      Hobby Lobby refusing to provide contraception coverage to its employees is a different type of bullshit, I do believe. But, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet.

    • commented 2014-12-09 13:50:55 -0500
      Jennifer Gardner – however we now have another precedent of Hobby Lobby.

    • commented 2014-12-09 12:50:55 -0500
      There are precedents.

      What will happen is, the employers of the discriminating assholes will force them to act in a non-discriminating manner, and then the employees will sue, crying that their religious rights are being stifled, and these bullshit laws will end up at SCOTUS, who has already ruled them unconstitutional. In two separate cases, Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, and Ansonia Board of Education v. Philbrook, the court ruled that an employer is not obligated to honor an employee’s religious requirements if it causes hardship or loss of revenue for the employer.

      This is, of course, assuming the employers behave in a reasonably humane manner, which is hoping for a lot, I know.

    Your rights, your movement.
    Join today:
    Your rights, your movement.
    Join today: