Michigan House Speaker Says He’s ‘Struggling’ with Adding Gays to State’s Non-Discrimination Laws

Michigan's House Speaker Jase Bolger says he's "struggling" with the issue of adding gays to the state's Elliott-Larsen anti-discrimination law, which protects citizens in housing, employment, and other areas on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status, MLive reports:

Bolger“I want to respect gay individuals. I don’t want to send a message as a society that we are intolerant," Bolger said. "I think that we need to respect people who are different from us, whether they’re different because they believe differently, whether they’re different because they have different skin color, or whether they’re different because they’re straight or gay. The other side of that equation is I also want to respect people’s religious beliefs. And that’s where the struggle really comes in. I want to respect gay people, I want to respect people who have deeply held religious beliefs.

“And so legally – as a lawmaker now – you go back and you look at Elliott-Larsen," Bolger continued. "And it gets very difficult to try to balance those two. And that encapsulates the struggle. The struggle is how do we respect individuals on both sides of this question. I want to respect the individual rights of someone who’s gay. And I also, in doing that, don’t want to force somebody to ignore or violate their religious beliefs.”


  1. Rafa in Toronto says

    By the same logic, I presume he must be feeling similarly conflicted about whether sharia law and honour killings are ok, given that they stem from “deeply held religious beliefs”.

  2. One of the CA 36,000 says

    So this bozo wants to respect people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” and deny LGBTQ folk their equal rights.

    Some people have “deeply held religious beliefs” saying that women and people of color are inferior and shouldn’t have rights equal to those of white men. Other people consider Jews and Mormons as enemies to their faith. Should we honor their religious beliefs and take away the equal rights of women, people of color and people of non-Christian faiths?!?

    The arguments are getting tiresome.

    Either you believe in the Constitution and will give LGBTQ citizens the rights they are guaranteed (and deserve), or you don’t. The Establishment clause first says that the government shall not establish a state religion– and THEN it says it won’t prevent the free exercise of religion.

  3. bructer says

    He needs to go too, all these elected officials who can’t tell the difference between fairness and discrimination need to go. There is no way to protect all religions, they just need to be ignored.

  4. Chris says

    1. Really glad I moved to Rhode Island from my native state of Michigan almost 4 years ago.

    2. This guy, Speaker Bolger was also implicated in an election fraud scheme prior to the 2010 elections… clearly he didn’t struggle religiously with that decision.

  5. Kyle says

    The “gay rights undermine religious liberty” meme is gaining traction as an impediment to gay rights in most of the country, and is the biggest reason why there are inclusive anti-discrimination laws in only 21 states. It has been quite some time since a state passed an anti-discrimination law, and the prospects for any other states doing so are dim. Federally, there is no way ENDA will be passed anytime soon, at least not until 2015 (after mid terms), more likely not until 2021 (after 2020 presidential election).

  6. says

    Rational people who believe in the Constitution and who understand that we don’t live in a theocracy shouldn’t have to struggle with this. “Struggle” is usually as falsely euphemistic as “deeply held religious beliefs”–both a convenient way to be bigoted while pretending to be reasonable.

  7. UFFDA says

    Look Bolger you separate church from State, that’s how you deal with it. The State is the secular rights of people, their religion is their own business and their own limitation which is none of your business.

  8. RHR IN TN says

    “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:13. This is scriputure in their “deeply held religious belief.” I wonder if he “struggles” with respecting this belief and the law against murder? Using their own “slippery slope” method of debate, is it really that big of a stretch to say that all kinds of laws should be ignored out of respect for one’s religious beliefs?

  9. JONES says

    As stated a gazillion times in the last few years … your religious beliefs do NOT give you the right to enfranchise discrimination in a civil society.
    If as a legislator you have to ask this question then you have failed in understanding one of the primary principals of our constitutional Republic; that being the separation of church and state.

    Those ‘deeply held religious beliefs’ are taught bigotry. As an elected civil legislator your absolute first responsibility is to secure equality for all citizens. Accepting excuses of religious beliefs for bigotry makes you a participant in that bigotry and a failure as a civic leader.

  10. Steve says

    My deeply held religious belief, based on the teachings of Jesus, is that we should not discriminate against people. Where’s the respect for that belief Mr. Speaker?

  11. Rick says

    Wikipedia says he’s a Catholic. He must not hold his religious beliefs very deeply:

    “Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.” – Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998

    “The teaching of the church makes it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any form of injustice, oppression, or violence against them. It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination…. Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.”
    -Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998

    “We call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons.”
    -U.S. Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1990, p.55

  12. SoLeftImRight says

    So let me get this straight, no pun intended. Let’s say I own an apartment, and my “deeply held religious beliefs” hold that people with “deeply held religious beliefs” that include bigotry and discrimination are an abomination, they offend and disgust me. However, it would be (and should be) illegal under this law to not allow them to rent my apartment, assuming they are otherwise qualified. However, if they own an apartment I want to rent, and their “deeply held religious beliefs” are that they hate gay people, and therefore they choose not to rent to me, that’s completely ok. Struggle? You, sir, struggle with your own humanity. You do NOT belong in public service. Disgusting and ignorant.

  13. millerbeach says

    I do not care what your “deeply held religious beliefs” are. Keep them to yourself. If they are so deeply held, you would have already read the book written just for you. It’s called the Bible. It clearly states that if you want to be a Christian, you have to love ALL of God’s children, even the gay ones. After all, Jesus said it himself. Don’t believe me? Crack open that book you keep thumping and try reading it for a change. You will be surprised to find how far you are from being a Christian. Get back to me when you are a Christian.

  14. says

    There’s an important point not mentioned yet — Bolger’s comments are an *improvement* on what the Michigan GOP has been saying lately. Gosh, Bolger is considering possibly, maybe, toying with the idea of including LGBT people in the state’s andi-discrimination law! That’s big news around here.

  15. Jerry6 says

    Religions are the MOST Bigoted organizations ever invented by human beings. Why are Politicians giving Religions ANY say whatsoever in maters that are none of their business?

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