To: The Michigan State Senate

Demand inclusion of discrimination policy transparency in MI-RFRA bill

We demand an amendment to the Michigan Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (House Bill 5958) legally requiring businesses who accommodate the public to post any discrimination policy in effect in a conspicuous location visible to patrons and employees.

Why is this important?

In February 2015, a pediatrician at Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, MI refused to treat an infant so as to uphold the religious right to discriminate against the infant’s lesbian mothers. The following month, Senator Rick Jones provided an example of how the proposed MI-RFRA bill could potentially be used to allow a baker to legally refuse service to a patron who requests a religious themed cake that offends the baker's personal belief system. Patrons do not deserve to endure the distress, humiliation and inconvenience associated with being refused service by a public business in their communities. Instead, business owners should assume the responsibility of communicating their biases publicly.

It's clear that the Michigan legislature wants to permit businesses to legally sidestep civil rights protections under the guise of "Religious Liberty." If an individual or business can refuse to recognize a person's civil rights on the pretext of religious belief, those rights become effectively meaningless. Let's call it for what it really is, and require businesses who serve the public to specify who they discriminate against.

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