Protection of same-sex marriage could mean another voting initiative in Michigan

As the country is on the verge of cementing same-sex marriage protections into federal law, questions have been raised in recent days about whether Michigan will do the same. And the state’s top law enforcement official is pushing for a citizen-led referendum on the issue.

Before Congress stands HR 8404, known colloquially as the Respect for Marriage Act. It would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, which prevented the federal government from respecting same-sex marriages contracted under state statutes.

The move would also remove the Full Faith and Credit portion of DOMA — a clause in the 1990s law that did not require a state to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages — while introducing federal protections for interracial marriages, too.

HR 8404 passed the US House of Representatives in July with a bipartisan vote of 267-157, making it the most LGBTQ-friendly vote in Congressional history, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The US Senate advanced the bill by a vote of 62 to 37 on Nov. 16 after passing an amendment that stipulates that nonprofit religious organizations are not required to provide same-sex marriage services.

It is now awaiting a final confirmation vote in the US House of Representatives before proceeding.

And while progress is being made at the federal level on this issue, many, including Attorney General Dana Nessel, are considering whether Michigan will follow the example of codifying protections for same-sex marriages. Should Congress pass its version of the law, it would prevent everything on Michigan’s books, although proponents argue that changing the state law, too, would only serve as an additional strengthening measure to protect same-sex marriage.

But that would require a constitutional amendment similar to what voters pledged on Nov. 8 regarding abortion rights. That’s because in 2004 the state overwhelmingly voted in favor of the MI Marriage Amendment, which prevents the state from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages or civil partnerships altogether.

The measure passed with nearly 59% of the vote at the time, with only two counties voting against.

The 2004 amendment was later usurped by the Supreme Court decision in the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. hodges, which stated that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license and recognize same-sex marriages as same as heterosexual marriages. But much like Michigan’s 1931 ban on abortion stayed on his books after a ruling Roe, the MI Marriage Amendment remains part of Michigan law; and proponents of same-sex marriage should see that as a big problem upper skin suffer a similar fate roe.

TIED TOGETHER: To lawmakers on Dobb’s decision: GOP coming for LGBTQ rights, next contraceptive

Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, who will hold the Senate gavel in the next term, said he believes the votes are now there nationwide to change that. He likened it to how Michiganders’ attitudes toward abortion have changed dramatically since it was last on the ballot.

“It doesn’t matter what happens to it upper skin in the future – which obviously risks being repealed – now we have unconstitutional language in our constitution,” he said. “Like the abortion of 1931… the second law was unconstitutional Roe v. Calf, the legislature should have dealt with it at the time. We should work now, as we should have worked, to repeal the wording in our Constitution that prohibits marriage equality.”

This could become an uphill battle for supporters in the near future, given that a constitutional amendment requires a number of signatures equal to a portion of the total votes cast for all gubernatorial nominees to even go to the vote last elections were cast.

“I’m confident we have the votes to see him off. I’ve been saying it for a number of years,” said Moss, who is openly gay. “I think it will hopefully be a quick maneuvering process to get this enshrined in law with all Democrats backing it — but certainly Republican members of the Legislature are free to back it now because the leadership will allow it to come to a vote.” .”

Why the country is now investigating legal protections for same-sex couples follows the Supreme Court decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This ruling reversed the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision Roe v. calfa move that recognized the constitutional right to abortion.

Since there was no federal law enshrining abortion rights into law, states—including Michigan—had to either stand up to what was on the books (effectively disputable). roe) or to cobble together new guides on the subject.

But it was in the Dobbs Opinion that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has raised the specter of the possibility that if the Supreme Court erred in its attempt to try abortion, it may have done so on issues such as same-sex marriage and contraception Has.

“We should review all of this court’s significant due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell,” wrote Thomas. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘provenly wrong’.”

TIED TOGETHER: 81 out of 83 Michigan counties support more abortion rights today than they did in 1972

He went on to say that the court has a “duty to correct the error found in these precedents.” The “precedents” set in these three cases include contraceptive protection, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages.

This spurred Michigan to pass Proposition 3, the voting measure for a constitutional “right to reproductive freedom,” by an overwhelming majority in the most recent midterm.

No such move was taken to codify similar protections for same-sex marriages, something Nessel, the state’s top openly LGBTQ legislator, said in a thread on the need on twitter.

Like Moss, Nessel pushed for a petition to codify same-sex marriage rights in Michigan’s constitution, writing that while it was critical that the federal government commit to protecting marriage for same-sex partnerships, “if Obergefell is repealed, same-sex couples are allowed in Michigan.” DO NOT marry.”

“If Obergefell falls without the Respect for Marriage Act, no more same-sex marriages in Michigan and no recognition of same-sex marriages outside of the state (although a lawsuit over whether currently married couples are grandfathers is expected),” Nessel wrote. “If Obergefell falls with the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, all current same-sex marriages or couples married out of state will be recognized under MI and federal law (although Windsor also falls), but there are no new marriages in our state permitted [because] of the MI Marriage Amendment of 2004.”

That windsor The case Nessel is referring to is the 2013 verdict United States vs. Windsorwhich ultimately established that the federal government could not discriminate against married gay and lesbian couples in determining federal benefits and protections.

This leaves Michigan with two possible avenues on this issue: either have a group gather enough signatures to be able to vote on its own, or have two-thirds of the legislature in each chamber vote to pass a constitutional amendment to codify the law on it same-sex marriage on the ballot – similar to Proposal 1 of 2022.

If ever there was a legislative class to see the proposal put to the vote, it might be this one: The New 102 Story.

“I think these issues, the people are there, but the only thing — whether it’s in the legislature or in the electorate — the only thing that’s holding up the process was contactless, far-right leadership in the Michigan legislature,” Moss said, ” that people just voted out.”

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