With more supporting gay marriage, how are Michigan lawmakers approaching LGBT rights?

Jun 4, 2013

In 2004, 58% of Michigan voters voted yes to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

But that was nearly a decade ago. Since that vote, there's been an annual survey testing Michiganders' attitudes towards the issue. And the latest survey by the Glengarriff Group shows a major turnaround in the way we view same-sex marriage.

Today, Michigan voters back gay marriage by a 57% to 37% margin — almost an exact reversal of the vote on the constitutional ban.

With that backdrop, four Democratic senators have proposed a package of legislation that would advance recognition of same-sex marriage in our state.


Senators Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) and Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) are all proposing pieces of legislation that seek expand LGBT rights in the state.

Smith’s bill calls for Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages approved by other states. Warren’s proposed legislation would give Michigan voters the opportunity to repeal the ban from 2004. The other bills also seek to broaden support for same-sex couples.

But how exactly will these bills work? What about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decisions on the Defense Of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases? And with Democrats outnumbered 26-12 in the state Senate, just how likely is it that the package of bills will pass?

Warren joined us in the studio today to discuss attitudes towards same-sex marriage in Michigan, and what the Legislature is doing to reflect changing public opinion.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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