TROY, Mich. Nov. 28, 2022 — Legislators introduced a package of bills last week to establish clarity and promote religious inclusivity in Michigan law. The legislation was crafted with input from various faith communities, including the Christian community. In instances where a “minister of the gospel” is mentioned in Michigan law, these bills update and provide additional language to be inclusive of the various religions observed and practiced by Michiganders across the state.
“These bills affirm my commitment to being a representative for all constituents of this district and to promoting pluralism and religious diversity in our laws,” said state Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy). “Fred Stella, President of the Interfaith Dialogue Association of Grand Rapids, Hindu American Foundation leader and a longtime friend, reached out with this policy idea three years ago, and we worked with many other faith leaders and interfaith colleagues across the state to ensure we incorporated inclusive language. The partnership of Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC’s state government relations lead, Michael Kuper, was invaluable to our efforts to develop the appropriate language for the introduction of the bills.”
The bill package comprises:
- House Bill 6517 (sponsored by Kuppa), amending the Revised Judicature Act of 1961 to expand confessional confidentiality requirements to clerics of all faiths.
- House Bill 6518 (State Rep. Yousef Rabhi), removing requirements for any non-law enforcement officers who are present at an assembly for religious worship to apprehend an individual who interrupts or disturbs that meeting.
- House Bill 6519 (State Rep. Samantha Steckloff), expanding the ability to solemnize a marriage to religious leaders of all faiths as well as secular officiants.
- House Bill 6520 (State Rep. David LaGrand), allowing clerics of all faiths to visit with those in solitary imprisonment.