Michigan officials condemn “reprehensible” comments by a salon owner refusing to serve LGBT+ people

Michigan’s Attorney General has condemned “reprehensible” comments by a salon owner who promised to refuse service to LGBT+ customers – comments made days after the US Supreme Court sided with a Colorado business owner, civil rights groups said , lawmakers and LGBT+ advocates who refused to work with same-sex couples.

“If a human identifies as anything other than male/female, please contact a local zookeeper,” Christine Geiger wrote on the Facebook page of Studio 8 Hair Lab, which has since been privatized.

“You are not welcome in this salon. Period,” added the Traverse City salon owner. Her salon’s Instagram account is also private and describes the salon as “a private CONSERVATIVE business that doesn’t cater to bright ideologies.”

Last month, the US Supreme Court sided with a Colorado-based website designer who refused to create wedding websites for same-sex couples. An influential right-wing law firm argued on her behalf that the state’s anti-discrimination law violated her First Amendment rights.

LGBT+ advocates and civil rights groups have warned the decision could jeopardize the already threatened rights of LGBT+ Americans and state governments’ ability to protect them.

In a separate Facebook comment under her own name, Ms. Geiger said she had “no issues with LGB. It’s the TQ+ that I won’t support.” She then incorrectly stated that the “+” in LGBT+ stands for pedophiles.

The “+” represents queer, intersex, two-spirit and other Indigenous gender identities, as well as a wide range of other gender identities and non-LGBT sexualities.

The salon owner’s comments also referred to Michigan’s civil rights laws, which would expand protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and a physical or mental disability.

She falsely stated that doing so would criminalize naming an individual wrongly, a claim Republican lawmakers also made in the debate. Such legislation does not exist.

Michigan Attorney General’s Office Dana Nessel has received multiple complaints regarding the company, “and the Attorney General’s office believes the comments are hateful, reprehensible remarks designed only to marginalize a community that is already experiencing discriminatory hostility in Michigan and elsewhere.” suffers,” press secretary Danny Wimmer told The Independent.

Last year, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled to expand the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect LGBT+ people from discrimination in employment, public accommodation, public services, housing and educational institutions.

The new hate crime legislation is a “much needed update to Michigan’s ethnic intimidation law” with “unanimous and bipartisan support from prosecutors in every county in the state,” he added.

The legality of their denial of LGBT+ services and any other actions under the state civil rights statute and the state Supreme Court ruling “will likely be challenged in court following the Supreme Court ruling 303 creative This has opened the door to discrimination by companies when it comes to ‘strong language’,’ Mr Wimmer said.

Also the president of the Michigan ACLU stressed that “contrary to this salon owner’s claims, refusing to serve people based on their gender identity constitutes a violation.” [Michigan’s] Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act” and that the Supreme Court decision in 303 creative “does not allow this kind of discrimination.”

Mr. Wimmer of the Michigan Attorney General’s office stressed that it was 303 creative The decision “is not a blanket call for discrimination” and does not jeopardize legal protections against LGBT+ discrimination in the state.

The Attorney General’s Department “will continue to fight to protect the equal rights of all Michigan citizens,” added Mr. Wimmer, “and when it goes into effect, the Department will also enforce the new hate crime laws.”

Another upcoming test of the 303 creative The decision is brewing in a federal appeals court, where a right-wing law firm is challenging a ruling that sided with a man who sued a Catholic high school that fired him after discovering he was engaged to his longtime male partner was.

“If the First Amendment protects a corporation’s decision about what services to provide to the public, it protects … a church’s decision about who is religiously qualified to perform a religious school’s mission,” wrote the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a letter to a federal appeals court last month — the same day the Supreme Court issued its verdict 303 creative.

State Representative Betsy Coffia, whose district includes Traverse City, also condemned the salon owner’s comments, which she said “perpetuate the hatred” and “have no place in Traverse City or anywhere else in Michigan.”

“Comparing our LGBTQ+ neighbors to animals and pedophiles is breathtaking hatred and bigotry from a studio in my community,” she said in one opinion. “It’s also dangerous because it dehumanizes other Michigan citizens at a time when violence against LGBTQ+ residents is being perpetrated simply because of their identity.”

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and a native of Traverse City, said that “the kind of utter bigotry and ignorance that many advocates and leaders have warned against is about to become more mainstream because of the rapid rise in homophobia.” .” Transphobia in the Republican Party.”

“America should move forward, not backward. There are real problems to be solved.” he added.

A statement from the Polestar LGBT+ Community Center in Michigan said: “Hate has proven time and again an unsuccessful business strategy and we cannot allow this plague to take hold of our city.”

“Statements like Studio 8’s undermine the hard work that has gone into making Traverse City the best it can be,” the organization added.

The Independent Mrs. Geiger asked for a comment.

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