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Gay marriage heads to high court, a challenge to right-to-work, and Electoral College woes

Nov 19, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this week, a Michigan same-sex couple asked the court to rule on the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.
Credit US Supreme Court

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss a Michigan couple whose case could determine constitutional same-sex marriage rights, a challenge to Michigan’s right-to-work law, and a Republican-proposed plan for changes to the Electoral College.

Same-sex marriage

A same-sex couple from metro Detroit is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of state laws banning gay marriage.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rouse filed their plea less than two weeks after an appeals court ruled to uphold anti-gay marriage laws in six states, including Michigan.

Lessenberry said it’s just a matter of time before the matter is settled once and for all.

“We don’t know whether Michigan will be the landmark case, like Brown v. Board of Education, but some case will be, and the Supreme Court will set us all straight on this,” Lessenberry said.

Right-to-work

The Michigan Supreme Court will determine in January whether the state’s right-to-work law applies to unionized civil service employees.

The two-year-old law says a union cannot force a worker to pay dues or fees as a condition of employment.

State employees are currently exempt from the law, because their contracts were adopted before it took effect.

Lessenberry said though most people think the law does apply to both the public and private sectors, it's hard to predict whether the judges will agree.

Electoral College

Michigan Republicans have a plan to change the way Electoral College votes are distributed to presidential candidates.

Currently, all electoral votes go to the candidate who won the state's popular vote. Under the new plan, Michigan’s runner-up would also receive some of the votes.

Lessenberry said there could be unfair consequences if Michigan is the only state to adopt the plan.

“President Obama got a lot of popular votes in Texas and no electoral votes, but Texas isn’t talking about switching their system,” Lessenberry said.

Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom