Michigan House Passes Bill Allowing Doctors To Refuse Gays

Fri. April 23, 2004 12:00 AM

Lansing, MI - The Republican-controlled Michigan House of Representatives passed a measure today that would allow doctors to refuse to treat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients. The Conscientious Objector Policy Act provides that health care workers can refuse service to anyone for moral, ethical, or religious reasons, although the measure would prohibit the refusal of emergency care.

The bill was strongly supported by the Michigan Catholic Conference, a conservative religious organization that also hosted a legislative day for Catholics at the state Capitol today. The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate.

In addition, three other bills that may affect health care for LGBT patients were approved by the House today. One would exempt a health insurer or health facility from providing or covering a health care procedure that violated ethical, moral or religious principles reflected in their bylaws or mission statement.

Vocal opponents of the measure included Rep. Chris Kolb, the first openly gay legislator in Michigan. "Are you telling me that a health care provider can deny me medical treatment because of my sexual orientation? I hope not," he asked the House.