Nessel: Michigan Civil Rights Commission can ignore Schuette opinion

Jun 19, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State Attorney General Dana Nessel says a state commission is not bound by a formal opinion that prevents investigations into LGBTQ discrimination. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Last year then-Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion. It said that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission could not interpret the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

Suzanne Sonneborn is chief legal counsel in the Attorney General’s Office. She says the commission does not have to follow the opinion because part of the law used in the analysis is being challenged in court.

“We wanted to make sure that the commission was assured that we would continue to provide legal support and representation of the commission.”

At the time of the opinion, Schuette said the commission’s interpretation amounted to a change in the state’s law. Which he said the commission did not have the power to do.