This Week Online: Civil Liberties in the News 11/7-11/14

November 14, 2014

The ACLU of Michigan is tracking hundreds of legal cases and pieces of legislation that impact your civil liberties at any given moment, covering all concerns from free speech to government abuse. That's why we like to point out a few cases that made the news each week, to keep our members and supporters up to date on threats in your neighborhood.

Court Rules Against ACLU in Highland Park Schools Suit (Detroit Free Press)
The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the state of Michigan and against the ACLU in its lawsuit on behalf of Highland Park Schools students, alleging they receive an inadequate education. Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, told the Free Press the ruling is "outrageous," and it will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. (also: Michigan Radio, Detroit News)

Locked Capitol Doors Lead to Michigan Unions’ Right-to-Work Lawsuit (People's World)
The state American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of unions asked a state court to rule that officials blatantly violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act when they locked the public out of the state Capitol in 2012 as lawmakers debated the two controversial statutes.

Federal Judge Declares Michigan's Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits Unconstitutional (MLIVE)
A federal judge in Detroit declared Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits unconstitutional in a ruling released Wednesday afternoon. "We are thrilled that the federal court struck down as unconstitutional one of the most mean-spirited laws adopted in recent Michigan history," Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the LGBT Project of the ACLU of Michigan, said in a statement. (also: Pridesource)

Ruling Against Gay Marriage Leaves Hundreds Of Newlyweds In Limbo (Huffington Post)
A federal appeals court ruling in favor of anti-gay marriage laws in four states stunned members of the LGBT community and left hundreds of wedded couples in limbo in Michigan, where the lead case of DeBoer v. Snyder began. One newly married gay parent said he had thought maybe the world had changed for the better, only to find himself still waiting for recognition of his family. (aslo Sixth Circuit Ruling on Gay Marriage Bans Could Send Marriage Equality to the Supreme Court. (also: Ms Magazine)

Exclusion of Transgender People Threatens Rights Bill (Detroit Free Press)
A bill that would protect gays, lesbians and bisexuals from discrimination in hiring and housing was introduced Wednesday in the state House of Representatives. "We're totally opposed to it. We do not support a bill that allows discrimination against anyone," said Shelli Weisberg, legislative liaison for the ACLU. "We'll continue to try and pass a bill that is totally inclusive. And if we don't do it now, we'll look to the 2016 election." (also: Mlive, Pridesource, Buzzfeed)

Judge Weighs Hearing on Fate of 300 Same-Sex Marriages (Detroit News)
A judge is considering whether a new hearing is necessary to determine the legality of 300 same-sex unions in Michigan after a federal appeals court last week upheld the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Guest Column by Jay Kaplan: The Silver Linings In A Disheartening Week (Pridesource)
What a disheartening week last week seemed for LGBT equality and civil rights. In Michigan, one-third of all eligible voters voted in the 2014 election and selected and retained both policy makers and judges whose positions on LGBT issues have been anything but friendly. The same can be said for the U.S. Congress, where majority control is now in the hands of conservatives. And then just two days later, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, overturned lower court decisions favorable to marriage equality in cases from Michigan (DeBoer v Snyder), Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.