<html> <head> <title>Opinion #7305</title> </head> <body bgcolor="#ffffff" leftmargin="20" topmargin="20"> <BASEFONT size=2 face=Times> <P><FONT size=2 face=Times>The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich. Dept. of Attorney General Web Site - http://www.ag.state.mi.us) </FONT><BR></P> <P> <HR SIZE=3> <BR> <P></P> <P></P> <P align=center>STATE OF MICHIGAN </P> <P align=center></P> <P align=center><B>BILL SCHUETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL</B> </P> <P align=center></P> <TABLE style="BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" borderColor=#111111 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=7 width=630 border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD vAlign=top width=308> <P align=left>CONST 1963, ART 5, &#0167; 29: </P> <P align=left>CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION: </P> <P align=left>ELLIOTT-LARSEN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT: </P></TD> <TD vAlign=top width=288> <P align=left>Validity of interpretative statement interpreting term  sex as used in Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. </P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <P align=left><FONT size=3>The Michigan Civil Rights Commission s Interpretative Statement 2018-1, which concludes that the term  sex as used in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity, is invalid because it conflicts with the original intent of the Legislature as expressed in the plain language of the Act, and as interpreted by Michigan s courts. </FONT></P> <P align=left><FONT size=3></FONT></P> <P align=left><FONT size=3>Opinion No. 7305</FONT></P> <P align=left><FONT size=3></FONT></P> <P align=left><FONT size=3>July 20, 2018</FONT></P> <P align=left></P> <P class=AGcsNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Honorable Arlan B. Meekhof<SPAN style="mso-tab-count: 2">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>The Honorable Tom Leonard<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">State Senator<SPAN style="mso-tab-count: 5">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>State Representative <o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Capitol<SPAN style="mso-tab-count: 6">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>The Capitol<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 24pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Lansing, MI<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>48909<SPAN style="mso-tab-count: 4">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>Lansing, MI 48909<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 12pt 0in"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">You have asked </SPAN>whether the Michigan Civil Rights Commission is authorized to interpret the term  sex in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Michigan s Constitution entrusts the Legislature, and not executive agencies or commissions, with the authority to change, extend, or narrow statutes.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>1963 Const, art 4, &#0167;&nbsp;1.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Such changes to the law must be signed by the Governor (or passed with enough support to override a veto by the Governor).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>1963 Const, art 4, &#0167;&nbsp;33.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>And under certain procedures, the people themselves may change the law.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>1963 Const, art 2, &#0167;&nbsp;9.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Agencies are bound by those laws; any authority they have to interpret a statute cannot be used to change the statute or to enforce the statute in a way that conflicts with the law s plain meaning.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>For example, the Michigan Transportation Commission, a six-member executive agency appointed by the Governor (similar to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission), cannot modify the road-funding allocations set out in law.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>No, only the Legislature may modify highway funding allocations.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See 1951 PA 51; MCL 247.660.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As another example, the Michigan Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development, a five-member executive agency appointed by the Governor, may recommend land-use policies but cannot change what counts as  agricultural land under the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 125.3102(a). <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN>Under Michigan law, agencies and commissions have limited authority to interpret the statutes they administer, and their interpretations are entitled to respectful consideration, but an agency interpretation is invalid if it conflicts with the plain language of the statute.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Here, the Commission s interpretation conflicts with the Act s plain language:<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>ELCRA s text prohibits discrimination based on sex but does not cover distinctions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Because the Commission s interpretation is inconsistent with ELCRA, its interpretive statement is invalid, and the Commission may not rely on it to enforce ELCRA.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Although ELCRA expressly defines discrimination based on sex to include sexual harassment that occurs in the context of employment, public accommodations, public services, education, or housing, ELCRA does not define discrimination based on sex to include sexual orientation or gender identity.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsArg1 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 0.75in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">I.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Consistent with Michigan s Constitution, the Legislature enacted ELCRA.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1976, 1976 PA 453, and it bans discrimination (in employment, housing, public accommodations, public service, and educational facilities) based on ten enumerated categories:<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN> <SPAN style="COLOR: black; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial">religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, <SPAN style="BACKGROUND: white">familial status,</SPAN> or marital status as prohib</SPAN><SPAN style="COLOR: #212121; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial">ited by this act, is recognized and declared to be a civil right.</SPAN><SPAN style="COLOR: black; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"> </SPAN><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 37.2102(1); see also, Const 1963, art 1, &#0167;&nbsp;2.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The Act does not define the word  sex, but it was amended, first in 1978 and then in 1980, to specify that two types of conduct count as discrimination based on sex.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>1978 PA 153; 1980 PA 202.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>First, with respect to employment, it provides that  &nbsp; sex includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth that does not include nontherapeutic abortion not intended to save the life of the mother. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 37.2201(d); see also MCL 37.2202(d) (identifying prohibited acts).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Second, it provides that  [d]iscrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 37.2103(i).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN> Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I><SPAN style="COLOR: black; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is the executive agency charged in Michigan s Constitution with  investigat[ing] alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin in the enjoyment of the civil rights guaranteed by law and by this constitution .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Const 1963, art 5, &#0167;&nbsp;29.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In addition to those four categories listed in the Constitution, the Commission is also authorized by ELCRA to issue orders addressing violations of ELCRA.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL&nbsp;37.2605(1).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">On May 21, 2018, the Commission issued an interpretive statement asserting that the language  because of .&nbsp;.&nbsp;. sex in ELCRA is  ambiguous. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Interpretive Statement 2018-1 (Attachment A).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The Commission based this finding of ambiguity on its belief that  the definition of  discrimination because of .&nbsp;.&nbsp;. sex under Michigan law has to date been interpreted to be less inclusive than the definitions of other protected classes, and in a way that is contrary to the plain meaning of the language in this context. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As a result, the Commission stated that  as used in the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act  discrimination because of .&nbsp;.&nbsp;. sex includes discrimination because of gender identity and discrimination because of sexual orientation. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id. </I><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN>The Commission then said that it would  process all complaints alleging discrimination on account of gender identity and sexual orientation as complaints because of sex and therefore prohibited by the Act.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I></FONT></FONT><A title="" style="mso-footnote-id: ftn1" href="file:///S:/EXEANDSGB/OPIN_Assignment_Control/Opinions/Closed/Formals/#7305.docx#_ftn1" name=_ftnref1><SPAN class=MsoFootnoteReference><SPAN style="mso-special-character: footnote"><SPAN class=MsoFootnoteReference><SPAN style='FONT-SIZE: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA'><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">[1]</FONT></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></A><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsArg1 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 0.75in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">II.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">ELCRA covers discrimination based on sex, not based on sexual orientation or gender identity.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The starting point for answering your question is ELCRA s plain language, because the Commission s authority extends only to enforcing civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution or by law, and not to creating new civil rights.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The Commission s authority to consider complaints relating to sexual orientation or gender identity therefore depends on whether ELCRA covers those categories.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Michigan law governing statutory interpretation focuses on the plain and ordinary meaning of the statutory text.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 8.3a ( All words and phrases shall be construed and understood according to the common and approved usage of the language .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;. ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Jesperson v Auto Club Ins Ass n</I>, 499 Mich 29, 34 (2016) ( When interpreting statutory language, we begin with the plain language of the statute. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN>We must give effect to the Legislature s intent, and the best indicator of the Legislature s intent is the words used. ) (citations and quotation marks omitted).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN> When the plain and ordinary meaning of statutory language is clear, judicial construction is neither necessary nor permitted. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Pace v Edel-Harrelson</I>, 499 Mich 1, 7 (2016).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><SPAN style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The fact that a word is undefined does not make it ambiguous.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Terrien v Zwit</I>, 467 Mich 56, 75 76 (2002) (rejecting as  remarkable the proposition  that the lack of an explicit internal definition of a term somehow equates to ambiguity ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Instead,  [w]hen a statute does not expressly define a term, courts may consult dictionary definitions to ascertain its ordinary and generally accepted meaning. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Pace</I>, 499 Mich at 7<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">.</I><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>And because the goal is to  &nbsp; ascertain the original meaning &nbsp; of the statute,  it is best to consult a dictionary from the era in which the legislation was enacted. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">In re Certified Question from United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit (Deacon v Pandora Media, Inc)</I>, 499 Mich 477, 484 85 (2016), quoting <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Cain v Waste Mgt, Inc (After Remand)</I>, 472 Mich 236, 247 (2005).<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsArg2 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">A.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The word  sex refers to the biological difference between males and females and not to the distinct concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The word  sex was understood in 1976, when ELCRA was enacted, to refer to the biological differences between males and females, not to refer to the concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>For example, the 1969 edition of the <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">American Heritage Dictionary</I> defined  sex as  [t]he property or quality by which organisms are classified according to their reproductive functions, and as  [e]ither of two divisions, designated <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">male </I>and <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">female</I>, of this classification. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Similarly, the 1975 edition of <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Webster s New Collegiate Dictionary </I>defined  sex as  either of two divisions of organism distinguished respectively as male or female, and as  the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics of living beings that subserve reproduction by two interacting parents and that distinguish males and females. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Those definitions are unambiguous and did not include the concepts of sexual orientation or of gender identity; indeed, common dictionaries from 1976 or earlier (such as the two cited above) typically did not include entries for those concepts.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>E.g., <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hively v Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana</I>, 853 F3d 339, 350 n&nbsp;5 (CA 7, 2017) (en banc) ( [T]he term  sexual orientation was not defined in the dictionary around the time of Title VII s enactment [in 1964]. ); accord <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">id.</I> at 357 (Posner, J, concurring) ( &nbsp; Sex in 1964 meant gender, not sexual orientation. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In short, the contemporaneous understanding of the word  sex was that it referred to the reproductive functions of organisms (i.e., to biological distinctions between males and females).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">In fact, the words  sex,  sexual orientation, and  gender identity continue, in 2018, to express different concepts.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Compare Dictionary.com (defining  sex as  either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions and as  the sum of the structural and functional differences by which the male and female are distinguished, or the phenomena or behavior dependent on these differences ), with Dictionary.com (defining  sexual orientation as  one s natural preference in sexual partners ), and Dictionary.com<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> </I>(defining  gender identity as  a person s inner sense of being male or female ) (all web pages last visited June 11, 2018); see also merriam-webster.com (similar definitions); ahdictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary, with similar definitions).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>These definitional distinctions confirm that prohibiting discrimination because of  sex (i.e., because of status as a male or female of a species) conveys a different idea than prohibiting discrimination because of  sexual orientation or because of  gender identity. <o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsArg2 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">B.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3>Numerous contemporaneous interpretations of the word  sex confirm that it was originally understood to refer to biological sex, not to sexual orientation or gender identity.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3>Michigan law also considers contemporaneous interpretation of words as shedding light on their original meaning.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">People v Pickens</I>, 446 Mich 298, 319 (1994) ( Strong deference is due contemporaneous and longstanding interpretations of the constitution because they most likely reflect its original understanding. ); see also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">McPherson v Blacker</I>, 92 Mich 377, 383 (1892).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Twenty-five years ago, the Michigan Court of Appeals considered the meaning of the word  sex, and did so in the specific context of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barbour v Department of Social Services</I>, 198 Mich App 183 (1993), a plaintiff asserted that harassment based on his sexual orientation violated the Act.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected that conclusion, holding instead that  harassment or discrimination based on a person s sexual orientation is not an activity proscribed by the act. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I> at 185.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The court thus did not read the phrase  because of sex in the Act to mean because of sexual orientation or because of gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id. </I>at 184 n 1 (emphasizing the word  sex in the statutory text); see also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Robinson v Ford Motor Co</I>, 277 Mich App 146, 156 57 (2007) (  [S]ex, is most commonly defined as,  either the female or male division of the species, esp. as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions and  the sum of the structural and functional differences by which the female and male are distinguished, or the phenomena or behavior dependent on these differences. &nbsp; ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Barbour s</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"> interpretation remains binding law in Michigan, as the Sixth Circuit has recognized, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Kalich v AT &amp; T Mobility, LLC</I>, 679 F3d 464, 470 (CA 6, 2012) (quoting <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barbour </I>for the proposition that  [h]arassment or discrimination because of a person s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation is not prohibited conduct under ELCRA ), and so it binds the Civil Rights Commission.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCR 7.215(C)(2); MCR 7.215(J)(1).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In addition, the Michigan Supreme Court, which is very familiar with the plain language of ELCRA, has observed that  the [EL]CRA  neither provides a cause of action for sexual orientation discrimination nor grants municipalities the authority to create one. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Mack v City of Detroit</I>, 467 Mich 186, 196 (2002); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">see also id.</I> at 196 197 ( No [&nbsp;] legislative act has recognized sexual orientation discrimination claims. ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">id.</I> at 196 n&nbsp;10 ( [EL]CRA does not recognize sexual orientation discrimination ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>These statements further confirm that ELCRA s plain language is clear and that it does not include sexual orientation as a protected class.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3>The Court of Appeals interpretation in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barbour </I>and the Supreme Court s interpretation in<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> Mack</I> are not outliers.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>To the contrary, every federal regional circuit asked to read nearly identical language in the federal Title VII statute language prohibiting discrimination  based on sex  interpreted that same word in the same way when it first (i.e., most contemporaneously) examined the issue.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>42 USC 2000e-2 (addressing discriminating in employment).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Each concluded that Title VII s prohibition on discrimination based on  sex did not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation:<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">DeSantis v Pac Tel &amp; Tel Co, Inc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 608 F2d 327, 329 30 (CA 9, 1979) ( Title VII s prohibition of  sex discrimination applies only to discrimination on the basis of gender and should not be judicially extended to include sexual [orientation.] ) (footnote omitted); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Blum v Gulf Oil Corp</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 597 F2d 936, 938 (CA 5, 1979) (per curiam) ( Discharge for [sexual orientation] is not prohibited by Title VII. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Williamson v AG Edwards &amp; Sons, Inc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 876 F2d 69, 70 (CA 8, 1989) ( Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against [gays]. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Wrightson v Pizza Hut of Am, Inc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 99 F3d 138, 143 (CA 4, 1996) ( Title VII does not afford a cause of action for discrimination based upon sexual orientation ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Fredette v BVP Mgt Assoc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 112 F3d 1503, 1510 (CA 11, 1997) ( We do not hold that discrimination because of sexual orientation is actionable. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Higgins v New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 194 F3d 252, 259 (CA 1, 1999) ( Title VII does not proscribe harassment simply because of sexual orientation. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Simonton v Runyon</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 232 F3d 33, 35 (CA 2, 2000) ( The law is well-settled in this circuit and in all others to have reached the question that Simonton has no cause of action under Title VII because Title VII does not prohibit harassment or discrimination because of sexual orientation. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Hamner v St Vincent Hosp &amp; Health Care Ctr, Inc</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 224 F3d 701, 704 (CA 7, 2000) ( [H]arassment based solely upon a person s sexual preference or orientation (and not on one s sex) is not an unlawful employment practice under Title VII. );<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Bibby v Philadelphia Coca Cola Bottling Co</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 260 F3d 257, 261 (CA 3, 2001) ( Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Medina v Income Support Div, New Mexico</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 413 F3d 1131, 1135 (CA 10, 2005) ( We construe Ms. Medina s argument as alleging she was discriminated against because she is a heterosexual.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Title VII s protections, however, do not extend to harassment due to a person s sexuality. ); <o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt 0.75in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2"><SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol"><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><FONT size=3></FONT><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">Vickers v Fairfield Med Ctr</SPAN></I><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">, 453 F3d 757, 762 (CA 6, 2006) ( As is evident from the above-quoted language, sexual orientation is not a prohibited basis for discriminatory acts under Title VII. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsReg2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">As these decisions show, courts consistently understood, from the 1970s to the 2000s, that there is a difference between classifying someone based on sex and classifying based on sexual orientation.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">The same is true with regard to gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>For more than 50 years after the inclusion of  sex in Title VII (i.e., from 1964 to 2017), every federal circuit to directly address whether  based on sex meant  based on gender identity held that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Holloway v Arthur Andersen &amp; Co</I>, 566 F2d 659, 662 (CA 9, 1977) (rejecting the argument that  that  sex as used [in Title VII] is [synonymous] with  gender, and gender would encompass transsexuals because,  [g]iving the statute its plain meaning, this court concludes that Congress had only the traditional notions of  sex in mind ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Sommers v Budget Marketing, Inc</I>, 667 F2d 748, 750 (CA 8, 1982) (per curiam) (in light of  the plain meaning of the term  sex, Title VII does not  include transsexualism ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Ulane v E Airlines, Inc</I>, 742 F2d 1081, 1084 1085 (CA 7, 1984) (</SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri">rejecting holding that  sex as used in Title VII covers  sexual identity and prohibits discrimination against a transsexual, and stating, </SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"> The phrase in Title VII prohibiting discrimination based on sex, in its plain meaning, implies that it is unlawful to discriminate against women because they are women and against men because they are men. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">To be sure, two federal circuits reversed course this year (more than half a century after Title VII s enactment) on the issue of sexual orientation.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>E.g., <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Zarda v Altitude Express, Inc</I>, 883 F3d 100, 114 (CA 2, 2018) (en banc) (holding that Title VII bars discrimination based on sexual orientation); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hively v Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana</I>, 853 F3d 339 (CA 7, 2018) (en banc) (holding that Title VII covers discrimination based on sexual orientation).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>And the Sixth Circuit has held  that discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status violates Title VII. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Equal Employment Opportunity Comm v RG &amp; GR Harris Funeral Homes</I>, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Inc</I>, 884 F3d 560, 574 75 (CA 6, 2018).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But those interpretations were less contemporaneous, and so less persuasive as to the original meaning of the word  sex in 1964 (or 1976).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As the Michigan Supreme Court has explained, courts are expected to  ascertain the original meaning .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;when the statute was enacted, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Cain</I>, 472 Mich at 247, so it is the older cases, not the newer ones, that offer the most insight into the original public meaning of the word  sex. <o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsArg2 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">C.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Recent federal cases expanding on the meaning of the word  sex under federal law are not consistent with Michigan s principles of statutory interpretation.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">More fundamentally, these newer federal decisions interpreting Title VII do not follow Michigan s principles of statutory interpretation.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>And  [w]hile federal precedent may often be useful as guidance in this Court s interpretation of laws with federal analogues, such precedent cannot be allowed to rewrite Michigan law. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Garg v Macomb Co Cmty Mental Health Services</I>, 472 Mich 263, 283 (2005), opinion amended on denial of rehearing (July 18, 2005).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Michigan law remains rooted in the original statutory text.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>E.g., MCL 8.3a; <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Jesperson</I>, 499 Mich at 34 ( &nbsp; We must give effect to the Legislature s intent, and the best indicator of the Legislature s intent is the words used. &nbsp; ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">People v McKinley</I>, 496 Mich 410, 415 (2014) ( If the statutory language is unambiguous, no further judicial construction is required or permitted. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">This interpretive approach recognizes that it is the Legislature that is authorized to enact and change laws, not the other branches of government.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But these recent federal decisions do not rely on legislative intent or contend that the word  sex would have been understood to mean  sexual orientation or  gender identity at the time of enactment.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Rather, as Judge Posner acknowledged in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hively</I>, those interpretations are instances where  judges rather than members of Congress[] are imposing on a half-century-old statute a meaning of  sex discrimination that the Congress that enacted it would not have accepted. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>853 F3d at 357 (Posner, J, concurring); see also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">id.</I> at 353 (calling this process  judicial interpretive updating ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As he acknowledged,  Title VII does not mention discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and so an explanation is needed for how 53 years later the meaning of the statute has changed and the word  sex in it now connotes both gender and sexual orientation. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id. </I><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN>The explanation that he offers is that  [w]e understand the words of Title VII differently .&nbsp;.&nbsp;. because we live in a different era, a different culture. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I> at 357 (emphasis removed).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Similarly, the Second Circuit majority did not deny the contention  that it is not  even remotely plausible that in 1964, when Title VII was adopted, a reasonable person competent in the English language would have understood that a law banning employment discrimination  because of sex also banned discrimination because of sexual orientation[.] &nbsp; <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Zarda</I>, 883 F3d at 114, quoting <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hively</I>, 853 F3d at 362 (Sykes, J., dissenting).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Instead, these circuit decisions relied on the premise that  legal doctrine evolves. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Zarda</I>, 883<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"> </I>at 113; <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Hively</I>, 853 F3d at 340 341 (accepting invitation  to take a fresh look at our position in light of two decades of legal developments); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">EEOC v RG &amp; GR Harris Funeral Homes</I>, 884 F3d at 573 (distinguishing a 1977 circuit precedent because it did not  anticipat[e] an evolution in legal doctrine).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">But under Michigan law, the mechanism for evolution in statutory law is through legislation.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Const 1963, art 4, &#0167;&nbsp;1; <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">id., </I>art 2, &#0167;&nbsp;9; see also, e.g., <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barrett v Kirtland Cmty Coll</I>, 245 Mich App 306, 322 (2001) (declining to extend the prohibition of discrimination based on sex to discrimination based on romantic jealousy, explaining that  [h]ad our Legislature intended the [EL]CRA to protect against discrimination based on romantic jealousy, it could have expressly stated that intent within its statutory definitions ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>It is not the role of the Civil Rights Commission to  update a statute; rather,   [i]t is the legislators who establish the statutory law because the legislative power is exclusively theirs. &nbsp; <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Coalition of State Emp Unions v State</I>, 498 Mich 312, 330 n&nbsp;40 (2015), quoting <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Cameron v Auto Club Ins Ass n</I>, 476 Mich 55, 65 (2006); see also <I>Robertson v DaimlerChrysler Corp</I>, 465 Mich 732, 761 (2002) (refusing to treat words as if they were  written on water and rejecting the view  that courts may correct laws that they view as inadequate because  [i]t is only by interpretations of the law that are in accord with the words of the lawmaker that is, interpretations in which judges look <I>outside</I> themselves for a source of law that the decisions of courts are truly removed from the realm of politics and policymaking ).<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Moreover, Michigan courts interpreting ELCRA have not expanded the meaning of  sex in the way that a few federal courts interpreting Title VII have.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The evolving legal doctrine that these circuits relied on stems largely from the U.S. Supreme Court s plurality opinion in <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Price Waterhouse v Hopkins</I>, 490 US 228 (1989), in which four justices concluded that  [i]n the specific context of sex stereotyping, an employer who acts on the basis of a belief that a woman cannot be aggressive, or that she must not be, has acted on the basis of gender. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I> at 250 (plurality opinion).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The plurality further concluded that  stereotyped remarks can certainly be <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">evidence</I> that gender played a part. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id. </I>at 251 (plurality opinion).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Michigan courts have cited <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Price Waterhouse</I>, but have not extended it to reach the issues of sexual orientation or gender identity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>For example, Michigan courts have cited it for analysis on how to approach cases where an employer has both valid reasons and discriminatory reasons for adverse employment actions, e.g., <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Harrison v Olde Fin Corp</I>, 225 Mich App 601, 612 (1997), and for what constitutes direct evidence, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">DeBrow v Century 21 Great Lakes, Inc</I>, 463 Mich 534, 541 (2001) (per curiam) (citing Justice O Connor s concurrence).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But the Michigan cases that have cited <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Price Waterhouse</I> have not extended ELCRA to require treating discrimination based sexual orientation or gender identity as discrimination based on sex.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As a result, Michigan law on the meaning of discrimination based on sex has not evolved in the way that federal law may be evolving. <o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">To be clear, ELCRA protects everyone, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, from sexual harassment.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>ELCRA specifically states that  [d]iscrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment, and specifically forbids unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct or communication of a sexual nature in the context of employment, public accommodations, public services, education, or housing.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>MCL 37.2103(i); see also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barbour</I>, 198 Mich App at 186 (allowing a claim based on unwelcome sexual advances to proceed); </SPAN><I>Robinson</I>, 277 Mich App at 153 ( <SPAN style="COLOR: black">The language of the [EL]<SPAN style="BACKGROUND: white">CRA</SPAN> does not exclude same-gender harassment claims. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">But this language also shows that the Legislature knows how to expand what should be included as discrimination because of sex.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Indeed, the Legislature has twice expressly adopted such expansions:<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>first, it amended ELCRA to provide that employment-based discrimination because of sex includes discrimination because of pregnancy or childbirth, MCL 37.2201(d), and second, it amended ELCRA to expressly state that discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment, MCL 37.2103(i).<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Legislature may, if it chooses, add the new categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to the statute.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But as noted in your request, legislation addressing this precise issue has been introduced every year for the past 15 years, and each year the Legislature has declined the invitation to add sexual orientation and gender identity to protected categories under ELCRA.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Bibby</I>, 260 F3d at 261 ( Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation that would have extended Title VII to cover sexual orientation. ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>And the Legislature s rejection of these proposals cannot be because the Legislature thinks those categories are already protected; <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Barbour </I>specifically holds that sexual orientation is not protected, and no binding Michigan case holds that gender identity is protected.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The fact that the branch of our government with the authority to enact laws has declined to extend ELCRA s coverage to reach sexual orientation and gender identity means that an executive agency (i.e., the Civil Rights Commission) necessarily lacks the authority to achieve that extension through its limited authority to enforce the law, not to make it.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsArg1 style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0.25in 0in 12pt 0.75in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together; tab-stops: .5in; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3"><SPAN style='mso-fareast-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Century Schoolbook"'><SPAN style="mso-list: Ignore"><STRONG><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">III.</FONT></STRONG><SPAN style='FONT: 7pt "Times New Roman"'>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN></SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><STRONG><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Civil Rights Commission s statement is invalid because it is contrary to ELCRA s plain language.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></STRONG></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">The Civil Rights Commission is authorized to interpret ELCRA, <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Clonlara, Inc v State Bd of Ed</I>, 442 Mich 230, 240 (1993), and generally its interpretation is entitled to  respectful consideration. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">In re Complaint of Rovas Against SBC Michigan</I>, 482 Mich 90, 103 (2008).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But an agency s interpretation  cannot conflict with the Legislature s intent as expressed in the language of the statute at issue. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As the Michigan Supreme Court has explained,  [a]n interpretation not supported by the enabling act is an invalid interpretation, not a rule. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Clonlara, Inc</I>, 442 Mich at 243.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>  Interpretive  rules are invalid, the Court explained,  if they extend or modify the statute .&nbsp;.&nbsp;.&nbsp;. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Id.</I> at 243 n 26; see also <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Schinzel v Dep t of Corr</I>, 124 Mich App 217, 221 (1983) (explaining that a policy directive  cannot be deemed an interpretive statement of what a word means if  it changes that term s very definition ).<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Thus, even though interpretive statements by definition do  not have the force and effect of law, MCL 24.207(h) (excluding interpretive statements and guidelines from the APA s definition of a  rule ); <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Faircloth v Family Indep Agency</I>, 232 Mich App 391, 404 (1998) ( an interpretive statement is not, by definition, a rule under the APA ), they are invalid if, as here, they are not supported by the underlying statute or if they attempt to modify that statute.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">As explained above, neither the plain text of ELCRA nor Michigan case law supports the Commission s interpretive statement.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>That statement therefore is invalid.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See, e.g., <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Michigan Dep t of Civil Rights v General Motors, Corp</I>, 93 Mich App 366, 373 (1979) (stating that the Civil Rights Commission  </SPAN><SPAN style="COLOR: black; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial">cannot legislate or impose substantive duties or penalties beyond the scope of the legislative enactment authorizing it to prohibit religious discrimination ).</SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin"><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">The significance of the issues addressed in this opinion to the Commission and many Michigan residents is not lost on this office.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But again, the power to change Michigan law lies only with the Legislature, </SPAN>1963 Const, art 4, &#0167;&nbsp;1, or the people themselves through initiative, 1963 Const, art 2, &#0167;&nbsp;9, and not with Executive branch agencies like the Commission, Const 1963, art 3, 2.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>As an analogy, many people would encourage the Michigan Transportation Commission to expand and modify PA 51 road funding allocation to various urban or rural communities or might encourage the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development to expand state laws relating to zoning.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>But  again, only the Legislature (or the people themselves, by initiative) may do so.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><SPAN style="mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin">And, without a doubt the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and the role of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission are significant issues of public policy.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsIndent2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 12pt"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">However, it is my opinion that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission s Interpretative Statement 2018-1, which concludes that the term  sex as used in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity, is invalid because it conflicts with the original intent of the Legislature as expressed in the plain language of the Act, and as interpreted by Michigan s courts.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsSignatureBlock style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 3.5in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">Sincerely,<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=AGcsSignatureBlock style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together"><o:p><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P> <P class=AGcsSignatureBlock style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 3.5in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together"><SPAN style="mso-no-proof: yes"><?xml:namespace prefix = "v" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"><v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=Picture_x0020_5 style="HEIGHT: 35.25pt; WIDTH: 180.75pt; VISIBILITY: visible; mso-wrap-style: square" alt="Mr Shuette - (1)" type="#_x0000_t75" o:spid="_x0000_i1025"><v:imagedata o:title="Mr Shuette - (1)" src="file:///C:/Users/kanadyj1/AppData/Local/Temp/3/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.jpg"></v:imagedata></v:shape></SPAN><o:p></o:p></P> <P class=AGcsSignatureBlock style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 3.5in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together"><o:p><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook">&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></P> <P class=AGcsSignatureBlock style="PAGE-BREAK-AFTER: avoid; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 3.5in; mso-pagination: widow-orphan lines-together"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">BILL SCHUETTE<BR>Attorney General<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></P> <DIV style="mso-element: footnote-list"><BR clear=all><FONT size=3 face="Century Schoolbook"> <HR align=left SIZE=1 width="33%"> </FONT> <DIV id=ftn1 style="mso-element: footnote"> <P class=MsoFootnoteText style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 6pt"><A title="" style="mso-footnote-id: ftn1" href="file:///S:/EXEANDSGB/OPIN_Assignment_Control/Opinions/Closed/Formals/#7305.docx#_ftnref1" name=_ftn1><SPAN class=MsoFootnoteReference><SPAN style="mso-special-character: footnote"><SPAN class=MsoFootnoteReference><SPAN style='FONT-SIZE: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA'><FONT face="Century Schoolbook">[1]</FONT></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></A><FONT face="Century Schoolbook"><FONT size=3> </FONT><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt">The Civil Rights Commission was invited to provide comments regarding this opinion request and did so.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Comments were also received from Representative Sam Singh and Senator Jim Ananich on behalf of the Michigan House and Senate Democratic Caucuses, and from Mr. Jay Kaplan on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.</SPAN></FONT><o:p></o:p></P></DIV></DIV> <P align=left> <P align=left></P><FONT size=2 face="Times New Roman"><FONT face=Times></FONT><BR></FONT></P> <P align=left></P> <HR SIZE=3> <SCRIPT language=JavaScript> <!-- Start of JavaScript document.write('<font size=1 face="Arial">http:/' + unescape(self.document.location.pathname) + '<font size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp<br />State of Michigan, Department of Attorney General</font></font><br />'); 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