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ASMSU Seeks ‘Virtual Discrimination' Ban, Upset After ‘Terrifying’ Gay Marriage SCOTUS Opinion

Author: Sergei Kelley

Recent legislation passed by MSU’s student government calls for MSU to ban ‘virtual discrimination’ and affirms support for the SCOTUS gay marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), after a recent opinion by Justices Alito and Thomas.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, ASMSU, held a general assembly on October 22. Bill 57-27, “Advocate for Changes to Michigan State University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy,” and Bill 57-29, “Support the Decision of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015),” were discussed and passed.

MSU’s anti-discrimination policies are “not up to par” with the rest of the Big Ten, and is much shorter, introducer Joran Kovach stated. Kovach is a representative for the James Madison College. According to the bill, MSU’s policies do not “explicitly prohibit virtual discrimination when it could reasonably create a hostile environment” and protect against retaliation on reporters.

Responding to questions on the scope of ‘virtual discrimination,’ Kovach shared it had initially been “social media” discrimination but was altered given MSU’s jurisdiction limits.

[RELATED STORY: FIRE Blasts MSU Student Gov. for Attempted First Amendment Violations]

ASMSU Vice President for Internal Administration Nora Teagan clarified, there are “spaces that exist within MSU and outside MSU.” Teagan explained that discriminatory content shared online by a student group affiliated with MSU would be in violation of the policy, but not online content by a student’s private account.

Spurred by a recent opinion by SCOTUS Justice Alito and Justice Thomas upholding, but pointing to concern in the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision, ASMSU passed a bill affirming gay marriage.

Introducer Riley Lawson called the recent opinion “distressing” and “terrifying” and asked “ASMSU to take a firm stance, primarily against Alito and Thomas, but then also reaffirm for advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.”

Lawson serves as representative for the College of Engineering.

In their opinion, the Justices pointed the threat Obergefell v. Hodges present to religious liberty and have indicated their openness to hearing cases potentially in opposition.

Bill 57-29 included a statement, to be published to the student body, which says, “It took the work of many activists over many decades to get here. So, we understand the fear that it could only take the work of only a few people in a few hours to take it all away.”

[RELATED STORY: Diversity Training, Stopping 'Homophobic’ FDA Practices Highlight ASMSU’s Last Meeting]

Representative Blake Lajiness encouraged others saying, “vote for this bill to show you can have mutual respect for the LGBT community.”

The general assembly of the 57th Session discussed other bills that night and heard from MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff.

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