Corruption at Michigan Civil Rights Commission

Take Action by

Prof. William Wagner

WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (Commission)  corruptly ignored the law yesterday to advance the political agenda of Christophobic activists.

Last September, after hearing legal analysis from the Great Lakes Justice Center, the commission refused to add “gender identity and sexual orientation” to the protected categories in the Michigan Civil Rights Act (CRA).  Political activists at the ACLU and Equality Michigan  had invited the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to add these new classifications to the protected categories in the (CRA) by issuing an interpretive statement. Quietly yesterday, though, the Commission bowed the knee to activists, unlawfully implementing its agenda.

Prior to the September hearing, the GLJC filed a Public Comment with the Commission on behalf of State legislators responding to the activists (  Professor Wagner then presented powerful testimony before the Commission and a packed hearing room. His persuasive testimony and GLJC’s comment made clear that legislative authority resides solely in the State Legislature pursuant to Michigan’s Constitution.


Whether one supports or opposes amending Michigan’s CRA to provide special protection for new classifications of people, it is the legislature and not the Commission, that holds the power to do so.  Indeed, nothing in Michigan’s Constitution or our statutory law authorizes the Commission to either make new law in this area or try to enforce such “laws” under the guise of an interpretive statement.  On behalf of the State legislators, the Justice Center called on the Commission to decline to unconstitutionally exercise legislative authority reserved solely to the Legislature.

The activists incorrectly claim the Commission holds legal authority under both state and federal law to add the new categories to the CRA. It also misleadingly claims that an interpretive statement provides special legal protection and remedies for the LGBT activists (read: LGBT plaintiffs suing Christian businesses). The GLJC presented a simple review of the law demonstrating the untrustworthiness of the activist’s claims.

The Commission is not the Legislature

The Commission is not the Legislature and is not politically accountable to the people. Under Michigan law an interpretive statement issued by the Commission is not binding law, and cannot, therefore, make LGBT discrimination “unlawful in Michigan.”  The Commission cannot legally provide new remedies to alleged victims of discrimination. Moreover, the activists wrongly claimed that federal court interpretations of the Title VII employment discrimination law are relevant, binding and controlling law regarding the CRA. Michigan’s Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that federal court interpretations of federal law are not binding on its interpretation of the CRA.

Moreover, the current position of the Federal Department of Justice is that Title VII does not include sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes, rather, “the word ‘sex’ means biologically male or female.” Additionally, the Michigan Legislature considered and rejected legislation eleven times since 1999 to add the requested categories to the CRA. The Commission is bound to follow Michigan law.

David Kallman, Senior Counsel for the GLJC said: “The Commission must reject the activist’s invitation to ‘interpret’ Michigan law to mean something our legislature explicitly rejects.” Professor Wagner, President of the GLJC, added: “Even if the Commission agrees with the request, the Commission has the constitutional duty to enforce the laws passed by the legislature, not make up its own laws.  We must not permit the Commission to usurp the Rule of Law and the Legislature’s constitutional role as our politically accountable body. Any attempt to enact and enforce such legislation under the guise of an interpretive statement will be rejected as unlawful by our courts.”

While the Commission’s most recent decision is a corrupt attack on good governance and religious conscience, Christian people must be ever strong.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)


About the Author

Prof. William Wagner
WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU
Professor Wagner holds the WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at Spring Arbor University. He has a special interest in building and preserving environments where Christians may share the Good News of Jesus, free from persecution and oppression.

More On

This Issue