gay marriage

Politics & Government
10:52 am
Thu June 27, 2013

After Supreme Court rulings, advocates ready to fight for gay rights in Michigan

Gay rights advocates.
Aimee Hechler imgur.com

Listen to Rick Pluta's full story above.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage don’t really change the legal status of same-sex couples in Michigan. In 2004, voters amended the Michigan Constitution to enact a sweeping ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

But there’s a lot happening on the issue in courts, the Legislature, and on the campaign trail.

The Supreme Court’s decision returns gay marriage battles to Michigan and the 34 other states that prohibit same-sex marriage.

Gay rights groups here have set their sights on November of 2016. That’s when they hope to run a ballot question to reverse the state’s gay marriage ban. 

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Opinion
9:23 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Michigan and the Supreme Court rulings

Lessenberry commentary for 6/27/2013

 If you are a liberal, you were probably dismayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act Tuesday, and thrilled by the justices’ ruling on same-sex marriage Wednesday.

If you are a conservative, you probably feel exactly the opposite.  Yet things are seldom as black and white as they seem, and like everyone else, Michiganders are apt to see just how complex the effects of these rulings really are, as the consequences of these decisions play out in coming months and years.

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Politics & Government
7:12 am
Thu June 27, 2013

In this morning's news: Gay marriage in Michigan, Medicaid workgroup, WSU tuition hike

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, June 27, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Potential impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage yesterday won't have any immediate effects in Michigan, but they could impact the state in other ways.

"A federal judge says he’ll rule soon on a case dealing with same-sex adoptions in Michigan. But the decision could extend beyond adoption rights and address the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage...Gay rights activists in Michigan are also gearing up for a 2016 ballot campaign to overturn the state’s ban," Jake Neher reports.

Republican senators form Medicaid workgroup

"Six Republican senators will meet over the summer to consider ways to possibly improve Medicaid expansion legislation pending in the Michigan Senate. Governor Rick Snyder is traveling the state to pressure Senate Republicans to vote after they adjourned last week without voting...Snyder calls the workgroup's creation 'good progress,'" according to the Associated Press.

Wayne State University students face steep tuition hike

A budget passed yesterday by the Wayne State Board of Governors raises the tuition for a fulltime resident undergraduate at the university by $904 for the 2013-2014 school year. Wayne State Board of Governors Chairwoman Debbie Dingell says the state's failure to adequately fund universities made the increase necessary. The school says it will also increase financial aid by 11%.

Law
5:18 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Understanding how today's Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage could affect Michigan

From the rally outside the Supreme Court.
Aimee Hechler imgur.com

Update 4:30 p.m.

Earlier this month, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez - a gay couple in Michigan and the parents of two-year-old Lucas. The two were legally married in Washington D.C. last December, but they live in Michigan - a state that doesn't recognize their union:

"...it is very difficult for us to be in a two-parent family and not have that recognized."

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Politics & Government
7:05 am
Tue June 25, 2013

In this morning's news: Gay marriage legislation, Snyder and Medicaid, Bay Mills casino case

Morning News Roundup, Tuesday, June 25, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Michigan Democrats propose legislation to legalize same-sex marriage

While they wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage this week, Michigan House Democrats are proposing legislation that would let voters reconsider the ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

“Legislation would let voters replace the gay marriage ban with an amendment that specifically allows same-sex marriages…The Republican state House speaker says any effort to reverse the same-sex marriage ban should start with a citizen-initiated petition drive,” Rick Pluta reports.

Governor Snyder still pushing Senate on Medicaid expansion

“Governor Rick Snyder says he’s considering vetoing every bill that hits his desk until state lawmakers vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan…Snyder blasted the state Senate last week for leaving on summer recess without voting on the bill. He says he’s looking at a variety of options to get lawmakers back in Lansing,” Jack Neher reports.

Bay Mills casino case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide if the state can challenge a tribe’s right to open a casino in the northern Michigan town of Vanderbilt.

“The case now goes on the docket for the Supreme Court’s upcoming term. The issue is whether state Attorney General Bill Schuette has the legal standing to challenge the casino. The Bay Mills Indian tribe says he does not – that the Vanderbilt property is part of the tribe’s independent territory," according to Rick Pluta.

Stateside
6:06 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Michigan House Democrats introduce new same-sex marriage bills

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

An interview with Rick Pluta.

This morning, some Michigan House Democrats gathered on the front lawn of the Capital to explain some new bills that would allow marriage for people who are gay or lesbian.

Polls of Michigan citizens indicate a growing number of people say it’s time for marriage equality for LGBT folks - about 57% approve.

That’s quite a turnaround. Just nine years ago the people of Michigan approved a state constitutional amendment specifically banning gay marriage. It passed by nearly 59%.

In the midst of this, we’re waiting for decisions on two gay rights issues in the U.S. Supreme Court. To help wade through all this and what it means is Rick Pluta, capital bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:58 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Bolger considers adding sexual orientation to civil rights law

Gays and lesbians in Michigan could be protected from discrimination if sexual orientation is added to the state's civil rights law.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) could be opening the door to extending civil rights protections to gays and lesbians. That would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas such as employment and housing.

The state's civil rights act protects a variety of groups from discrimination. It includes protections for categories like race and age, but sexual orientation has yet to be included.

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Investigative
7:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

For gay and lesbian families in Michigan, one parent is left out

Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez and their son, Lucas.
Credit Love-Ramirez family

Hear the story.

In Michigan, if you’re gay or lesbian, you can’t get married.

And for LGBT partners who adopt children it’s nearly impossible for both to have parental rights. That causes legal difficulties in providing a secure future for the kids they’re raising.

Two-year-old Lucas has two dads, Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez.

Diego is an airline pilot, and Kent works at Michigan State University.

“We’ve been together just over ten years. And we married in a religious ceremony five years ago and just legally married in Washington, D.C.," said Kent.

Kent and Diego are the only parents Lucas has ever known. But, the State of Michigan does not recognize one of them as a parent.

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Offbeat
10:29 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Odawa tribe gay couple invited to White House

Tim LaCroix (center left) and Gene Barfield (center right) are the first to legally marry under the Odawa tribe.
Emily Fox

BOYNE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Two men who became spouses at a Michigan Indian reservation in a state that bans same-sex marriages have been invited to the White House.

MLive.com reports that Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield will be guests of President Barack Obama on Thursday at a reception honoring LGBT Pride Month. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

The men were married in March by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, of which LaCroix is a member.  Same-sex marriage is prohibited in Michigan, but federally recognized Native American tribes are self-governing and aren't bound by state law.

Barfield and LaCroix say they were shocked to receive the invitation and canceled a scheduled trip to California.

The longtime partners live in Boyne City.

Politics & Government
8:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

In this morning's news: Bush at Mackinac, push to repeal gay marriage ban, Snyder on DIA

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Jeb Bush endorses school choice at Mackinac Policy Conference

"Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told a large business and political conference on Mackinac Island that Michigan and other states should clear the way for more charter and online schools. He also urged Michigan to stick with the Common Core education standards," reports Rick Pluta.

Michigan Democrats push for marriage equality

Yesterday, Democrats in the Michigan state senate announced their intent to introduce legislation repealing the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

"Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor says polling shows more Michiganders support gay marriage than just a year ago. She also said that married couples enjoy a host of legal protections, and removing Michigan’s ban would ensure gay couples can be legal parents to their adoptive children," according to the Associated Press.

Snyder comments on sale of DIA collection

"Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he hopes Detroit’s financial crisis doesn’t force emergency manager Kevyn Orr to sell off items from the collection of the Detroit Institute of Art... Orr says the DIA’s collection could face sale if Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection...Snyder said yesterday at the Mackinac Policy Conference that the DIA is ‘important to the livelihood of the city" and that "the goal is not to sell the assets of the DIA in a wholesale fashion,’" the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Ingham County trying to protect the property rights of gay couples

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope (left) looks on as his husband Bradley Rakowski signs an affidavit in the Ingham County Register of Deeds office. Register Curtis Hertel Jr. (right) looks on
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There’s a new effort to protect the property rights of same-sex couples in Michigan.

Currently, Michigan law only allows a spouse to inherit property in the absence of a will.  Michigan's constitution prohibits same sex marriage.   

But Ingham County is now recognizing out-of-state marriage licenses or affidavits from gay couples.  The county’s Register of Deeds says including the documents will help protect the property rights of same-sex couples.  

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Politics & Government
6:19 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Most Michiganders approve of gay marriage

In 2004, a majority of Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state constitution, banning any recognition of marriage or civil unions between same-sex couples.

Just nine years later, it appears there has been a sea change.

A new poll, paid for by Chicago-based marketing consulting company, the Glengariff Group, finds that not only do most respondents agree the 2004 amendment should be reversed, they also support immediately replacing the ban with a new amendment, protecting marriage rights for gay and lesbian residents of the state.

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Politics & Government
1:45 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Is legalizing gay marriage on Michigan's horizon?

Guillaume Paumier/Flickr

Yesterday, Minnesota’s governor signed a bill that made gay marriage legal in the state.

Could Michigan be the next state to make steps towards legalizing gay marriage?

Given the state’s current constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage, probably not anytime soon.  But more Michiganders support gay marriage than they did a year ago.

According to a state-wide poll released to The Detroit News and WDIV-TV Channel 4 on Tuesday, 56.8% of Michigan residents support gay marriage. That’s a 12.5 percentage point increase since May 2012 when 44.3% of Michiganders supported gay marriage.

Opinions have drastically changed since January 2011, when only 38% supported gay marriage. 

Republican opinion has shifted the most – 36.5% of Republicans supported gay marriage in the most recent poll compared to the 20% who supported it in 2012.

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Investigative
7:00 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Religious liberties for some, but not for LGBT marriage in Michigan (Part 3)

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

Some Michigan legislators have pushed bills calling for religious liberties to be honored through law. But one person’s religious liberty might be another person’s religious suppression.

Much of the debate about same-sex marriage is centered in people’s religious beliefs. The religion with the most followers in Michigan is the Catholic Church. It opposes same-sex marriage.

“Marriage from the Catholic perspective is between one man and one woman because that promotes the creation, the procreation of life,” explained Thomas Hickson, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Michigan Catholic Conference

It should be noted that a survey of Michigan voters last year found the majority of people who identified themselves as Catholic approved of same-sex civil unions or marriage. But that’s not the Church’s official position.

Recently the Catholic Conference announced its advocacy priorities for the current legislative session.  Among the religious liberties it intends to defend is a 2004 amendment to the Michigan Constitution. That amendment defines marriage as between one woman and one man. It also bans recognition of similar unions- in other words Michigan cannot grant any of the rights or privileges of marriage to same-sex couples. No adoption rights. No survivor’s benefits. No health insurance for public employees.

But, some other religious organizations view same-sex marriage differently and feel gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should be treated equally under the law.

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Politics & Government
12:23 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Congressman Amash and Michigan ACLU talk wiretaps, drones, and gay marriage

Congressman Justin Amash
Courtesy photo facebook.com

Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) says libertarian leaning Republicans like himself are having an impact on federal policies involving people’s civil rights. He made the remarks at a town hall meeting Monday night hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union in Grand Rapids.

He points to US Senator Rand Paul’s 13-hour-long filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. That filibuster was, in part, to raise awareness about the ambiguity in the rules governing the use of unmanned drones on American soil.

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Stateside
4:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

LGBT discrimination is bigger than you think

Employers can legally discriminate against members of the LGBT community in Michigan
antiochla.edu Antioch University

The oral arguments for two gay marriage cases will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

The court will focus on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Prop 8 case.

Though they are both cases related to same-sex marriage, each case is different.

There are all sorts of infographics that have been created to accompany commentary on shifting support for gay marriage on a national scale, but what's going on in the Michigan LGBT community?

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside about the lack of legal protection for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Michigan and what these cases could mean for them.

Graham is working on a series of reports looking at the legal rights of the LGBT community.

You can listen to Graham's first report here.

And you can listen to our conversation with him above.

Stateside
5:13 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Talking about LGBT rights in Michigan

Michigan doesn't offer legal protections barring LGBT discrimination
Guillaume Paumier/Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on two cases involving same sex marriage this year, bringing LGBT rights to the forefront of political discussion.

In Michigan, the Eliot-Larsen Civil Rights law doesn't protect members of the LGBT community.

This means that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can be fired, denied housing, and turned away from restaurants and hotels based on their sexual identity.

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Jay Kaplan with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Kaplan has been the staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project since its founding in 2001. He has fought against Michigan’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

Listen to the full interview above.

Law
4:38 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Judge decides not to rule today on Michigan's gay marriage ban

DeBoer Rowse Adoption Legal Fund

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman decided not to rule on Michigan's gay marriage ban this morning.

He said he wanted to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage.

Rick Pluta was at today’s hearing in Detroit and he joined to talk about this surprise decision.

He talked with us about the takeaway from today's hearing.

Politics & Government
4:52 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Michigan's changing view of gay marriage

A new poll shows a majority of Michiganders support gay marriage.

8 years ago, 59% of Michigan voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage and civil unions.

But Michigan State University researchers say a poll has found 56% of Michiganders are now in favor of gay marriage.    The poll of more than a thousand Michiganders turn place between mid-June and mid-August.

Charles Ballard is the director of the State of the State Survey.  He says there remains a core of people ‘Strongly Opposed’ to gay marriage.

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