LGBTQ+ Rights

Consistent with its overarching mission of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of everyone in the community—and with its commitment to ensuring equal treatment under the law—the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office strongly supports equal protection under the law for members of our LGBTQ+ community.

Towards that end, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office has been involved in a number of litigation and advocacy efforts seeking to secure LGBTQ+ rights. Learn more about our efforts by reading our briefs and statements below.

August 10, 2023: Amicus Brief Supporting Transgender Children and their Families

On August 10, 2023, Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit filed a brief on behalf of 29 cities, counties, and local government officials from across the nation urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to uphold the right of transgender children and their families to seek gender-affirming care.

The brief argued that two state laws that categorically prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender youth violate a longstanding constitutional right for parents to make individualized, medically supported choices with their children. By categorically barring gender-affirming care for young people, the challenged laws presume that state legislatures—not parents, not doctors, not young people themselves—know what is best in every situation. The brief emphasizes that such laws are not just unconstitutional, they threaten real harm.

Every major medical association opposes categorical bans on gender-affirming care for youth. And gender-affirming care for transgender youth—when provided at the advice of medical professionals—is associated with major reductions in suicidality & other mental-health issues. Those adverse effects, the brief highlighted, are ultimately those that local governments will have to address, as those who suffer from mental-health issues are more likely to become homeless, to attempt suicide, to be victims of crime.

March 9, 2022: Amicus Brief Opposing Texas Directive Criminalizing Transgender Children

On March 9, 2022, Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit joined over 90 current and former prosecutors and law-enforcement leaders on an brief urging a Texas court to block Gov. Abbott’s directive to criminalize parents who seek gender-affirming care for their transgender children. The Texas directive provides that parents and medical professionals can be investigated and prosecuted if they provide gender-affirming healthcare. The amicus brief argues that the Texas directive will not only impose severe harm on children, it will also significantly erode trust in the criminal legal system among transgender youth and their families.

What is more, the directive will further isolate transgender youth—who are already at high risk of abuse, harassment, and violence—from the protections that the legal system can provide. That, in turn, will significantly increase vulnerability, and erode public safety.

December 17, 2021: Amicus Brief Urging Michigan Supreme Court to Rule that Michigan Civil Rights Law Prohibits Sexual-Orientation Discrimination

On December 17, 2021, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office filed a brief on behalf of itself and seven other Michigan prosecutors in Rouch World v. Department of Civil Rights. The brief urged the Court to hold that Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The brief highlighted that Elliott-Larsen’s prohibition on discrimination “because of . . . sex” necessarily encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In addition, the brief emphasized the various ways in which sexual-orientation discrimination undermines public safety. The brief emphasized that discrimination in housing, medical care, education, and the criminal legal system (among others) places people at greater risk of victimization, and makes it less likely that crime will be reported and prosecuted.

The brief was joined by the Prosecuting Attorneys from Alger, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Oakland, and Wayne Counties.

June 29, 2021: Joint Statement Condemning Criminalization of Transgender People

On June 29, 2021, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit jointed 75 elected prosecutors and law enforcement leaders on a joint statement condemning efforts by state legislatures across the country to criminalize transgender people and gender-affirming healthcare. The statement emphasized that these efforts serve no legitimate purpose, erode trust that is critical to protecting communities, and ultimately, pose a threat to public safety.

The signatories to the statement, including Prosecutor Savit, pledged not to use “scarce criminal justice and law enforcement resources on criminalization of doctors who offer medically necessary, safe gender-affirming care to trans youth, parents who safeguard their child’s health and wellbeing by seeking out such treatments, or any individuals who use facilities aligned with their gender identity.”