Three Democratic State Representatives announced legislation yesterday, that would begin the process of repealing the 2004 Constitutional Amendment that outlaws same-sex marriages in Michigan. Rep. Sam Singh, from East Lansing, sponsor of the legislation, joined co-sponsors Rep. Jeff Irwin, and Rep. Adam Zemke, both from Ann Arbor, (notably all “college towns” with many young voters) and Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan, on the lawn of the Capitol to make the surprise announcement. Rep. Singh:
“This morning I was proud to stand with fellow legislators and advocates and announce a new legislative package to end discrimination and legalize marriage equality for thousands of Michiganders. We can all agree that marriage strengthens families and gives couples the tools and the security to build a life together. I believe this legislation is important to continue building strong families, strong communities, and a strong state.”
Rep. Singh went on to explain, “The cornerstone resolution of the legislative package would be done by the vote of the people asking them to repeal the language of the 2004 amendment.” Further provisions of Rep. Singh’s bill would recognize the marriages of Michigan’s gay and lesbian couples who married in other states, and take a symbolic vote calling on Washington to repeal the 1994 Defense of Marriage Act. Rep. Jeff Irwin:
“Anyone in Michigan who loves another person should be able to join with that person in marriage and that relationship respected by the state and our laws.”
The prospects for passage are murky at best, as both the Michigan House and Senate are under Republican control, and Republican Governor Rick Snyder has never shown himself to be sympathetic towards LGBT equality. He is currently being sued by Michigan couple Jayne and April DeBoer-Rowse for the right to both adopt the three children they are raising together. However, a referendum by the voters would be beyond his, or the legislature’s control.
The sponsors of the bill admit they face an uphill battle, but hope to at least begin the debate, in light of new public opinion polls that show a majority of Michiganders now support LGBT equality. According to the Detroit News, 56.8% now favor making same-sex marriages legal, which is up 12.5 percentage points from a year ago, and given the opportunity, 54% percent of voters would repeal Michigan’s 2004 Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
Gary Glenn, the President of the American Family Association of Michigan, insists the new public opinion polls are inaccurate, based on a “constant feed of media stories trying to tell us that everybody everywhere has suddenly overnight changed their position on this issue.” Glenn threw cold water on Singh’s prospects, saying:
“Homosexual activists and their Democrats’ allies are counting their chickens not just before they’re hatched, but before they’re a twinkle in the rooster’s eye.”
As a resident of Michigan who has been noticing the change of heart that seems to be happening all over the state, I’d advise Mr. Glenn to take another look. In Michigan, there are twinkling roosters everywhere.
Photo from Rep. Singh’s Facebook timeline.
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