Bill would let Michigan doctors, EMTs refuse to treat gay patients
Can doctors and emergency medical technicians legally refuse to give life saving assistance to a gay person, because of their religious beliefs? That question is being debated in the Michigan legislature.
The Republican-led House has approved the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially states that people do not have to perform an act that would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
“For example, a Christian doctor who does not believe in a gay lifestyle would not have to treat a gay patient,” CBS Detroit legal analyst Charlie Langton said. “Or perhaps, a Jewish butcher would not have to handle non-Kosher meat.”
Opponents say the bill, which is modeled after a federal law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, legalizes discrimination. Critics say extreme cases may unfairly deny people basic rights.
House Speaker Jase Bolger,who sponsored the bill, said the intention is to protect people’s religious beliefs from government overreach.
“The individual must show they have a sincerely held religious belief that has been substantially burdened,” Bolger, a Republican, said in a statement. “This bill is not a license to discriminate; the courts have already demonstrated for decades that wild claims will not be supported.”
“These bills are about the individual freedoms and rights that our country was founded on,” Republican Rep. Greg MacMaster, who voted for the bill, said in a statement. “Michigan residents simply need the reassurance that they can practice their faith without the fear of being harassed or sued, or their businesses threatened by government action.”
But Rep. Jeff Irwin, an Ann Arbor Democrat, warned it would “open the door to discrimination and the types of behavior that otherwise violates the laws of the state of Michigan.”
He said while legislators may think the bill is about safeguarding a baker from having to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, it’s “much broader.” Democrats warned that government workers with sincere religious beliefs could be allowed to show bias against someone from another faith, mentioning that pharmacists could deny birth control to women.
If state senators want to act on the bill, they’ll have to do it quick — the legislative session ends next week, and the bill will die if it’s not voted on, CBS Detroit reported.
At least 19 states have approved laws mirroring the federal law, which prohibits the government from imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion for anything other than a compelling government interest pursued in the least restrictive way, according to the Associated Press.
Police investigate teens who took, shared photo of girl in sex act
Macomb County teens involved in the taking and sharing of a photo of a 15-year-old girl in a sexual act, could face child porn and sexual assault charges.
According to Fox 2, four 17-year-old boys attending L’Anse Creuse High School North are being called suspects in a criminal investigation.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s office said school officials learned of a photo being shared over social media showing the female student engaged in a sexual act, taken last month without the girl’s knowledge. School officials say the incident happened off of school grounds and after hours, adding that the person who reported the photo did the right thing.
Police say the four boys involved could face serious charges. When school officials learned of the off-campus incident, they say they immediately alerted the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office. Police are still at the beginning of their investigation but say that possible charges include criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd degree and distributing child pornography.
How many times it was shared or is still being shared, police don’t know. But investigators say they’re conducting interviews and analyzing cell phones.
While no formal charges have been filed yet, Wickersham says that they are likely – not just for those four boys involved, but for those who clicked and hit send.
Heroin overdoses hit Waterford families hard
Multiple lives are gone and loved ones left behind say a drug is to blame.
According to Local 4, several small Oakland County communities have been hit hard by heroin overdoses this year and it seems the problem is only getting worse. On Thursday night the parents of 24 children shared how the drug has devastated their families.
Dolores Farrell’s grandson, Kyle Moshier, died in October after overdosing on heroin. Many families took to Facebook in the group called “Heroin epidemic” in Waterford. That’s where Pamela Hoffmaster got her statistics — by simply putting the faces with the losses.
The social media forum brought all of the families together. There was no shame, no judging, but hope that the young lives lost can help start a conversation about a deadly disease called addiction.
Lesbian couple goes to court fighting sperm donor for kids
A legal battle over parental rights, has a lesbian couple is going to court after their sperm donor is fighting for their kids.
They had a contract in California but now that the couple is living in metro Detroit, the deal may not be binding.
Annette Burgan and her partner relied on a donor to make their dreams of becoming parents a reality. Burgan even allowed the donor to see the children, according to Racine Miller, the couple’s attorney.
However, after allegations of inappropriate sexual misconduct by one of the children against the donor surfaced, Burgan decided to end the children’s relationship but Burgan’s donor is fighting back and wants to be legally classified as the children’s father
Burgan believes a contract the donor signed, should end his fight. But Burgan’s attorney say that contract does not have any weight in the state of Michigan – only California, and that’s why the donor chose to file for custody in Michigan.
Christopher Drouillard, attorney for the donor, Stacey Teruya, says the allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct is a smokescreen. Drouillard said his client is fighting for parental rights because he has concerns about Burgan’s parenting skills and says the kids do know him as daddy, which he says can be seen in a video.
But since Michigan law is silent on donor rights, Drouillard said he will base his argument on the Michigan Paternity Act but Miller believes there is a different resolution and wants Michigan to adopt the Uniformed Parentage Act.
Burgan says this ordeal has been devastating on her and her kids.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
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