A Michigan Judge Just Ruled Companies Don’t Have To Serve Gay Customers


A Michigan Judge Just Ruled Companies Don't Have To Serve LGBTQ+ CustomersPixabay/Michigan Courts

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has vowed to appeal Judge Christopher Murray’s ruling allowing same-sex couples to be discriminated against based on religious grounds.

Murray ruled that refusing to serve customers based on their sexual orientation was permissible on religious freedom grounds, while ruling that discrimination based on gender identity was unlawful.


His decision came after two companies were taken to court for barring a same-sex couple and a transgender person ‘on religious grounds’.

LGBT Sexual FluidityPA Images

Murray’s decision upheld the legal precedent set in the state under Barbour v. Department of Social Services in 1993 and later the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, by stating that a ban on discriminating against a person based on their sex also should encompass gender identity.

However, the same laws that exist to protect the trans community seemingly do not apply to those who are discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation, according to Murray’s ruling.


He says the ELCRA only explicitly protects people based on their ‘religion, race, colour, national origin, age, ex or marital status’.

A Michigan Judge Just Ruled Companies Don't Have To Serve LGBTQ+ CustomersMichigan Courts

Murray wrote, as per CNN:

With respect to whether sexual orientation falls within the meaning of ‘sex’ under the ELCRA, the Court of Appeals has already concluded that it does not.


Nessel has commended Murray’s ruling banning discrimination against trans people, however she has vowed to appeal his ruling allowing discrimination based on sexuality.

‘Michigan courts have held that federal precedent is highly persuasive when determining the contours of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), and federal courts across the country – including the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v Clayton Co – have held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination,’ the attorney general said in a statement.

‘We intend to submit that all Michigan residents are entitled to protection under the law – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – in our appeal to this decision.’

LGBT flagPA Images

She went on to quote the chairwoman of Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Stacie Clayton, who said ’continuing to interpret the word sex in a more restrictive way than we do of the other protected classes under ELCRA is in itself discriminatory’.

Murray himself has admitted that the ruling his not final because ‘it does not resolve all of the pending issues in the case’, which acknowledges the gap in the legislation that fails to protect people discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

Topics: News, Legal, LGBTQ+, Michigan, Now


  1. CNN

    A Michigan judge rules companies don't have to serve gay customers. The attorney general says she'll appeal

Emma Rosemurgey
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