Same-sex marriage has been legal for 5 years. State law is still outdated.

By: - August 3, 2020 6:15 am

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A large 54-bill package has been introduced in the House to repeal the legislative marriage equality bans and amend discriminatory gendered language.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, but Michigan’s 2004-passed ban remains in the Constitution and state law.

State House Minority Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) coordinated a group of 29 Democratic representatives to sponsor a sweeping bill package, House Bills 6045-6098 and House Joint Resolution T, to remove the unenforceable bans from state law. 

“Our state laws should provide equal rights and dignity to all Michiganders,” Rabhi said. “These bills are about upholding the guarantees of equal protection and due process under the federal Constitution. Language is important, and we must ensure that our laws do not further burden Michigan families with having to navigate a legal framework built on antiquated and discriminatory thinking.”

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Attorney General Dana Nessel, who fought Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in court as a private attorney, shared her support for the bill package. 

“It’s time to remove these unenforceable provisions from the books so that we can move forward as a state, hopefully, with a fresh perspective in mind – one that is supported by the highest court in this country, and one that focuses on equality and inclusion,” Nessel said. 

The GOP-led Legislature has not acted on any LGBTQ rights measures this term led by Democrats. They include efforts to ban housing and job discrimination, recognized Gay Pride month in June and ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.

The 54 bills in the latest package would amend discriminatory references to spouses and parents in laws ranging from the Divorce Act to the State Potato Industry Commission Act. 

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They also would repeal direct bans on same-sex marriage codified in three acts. 

House Joint Resolution T would put a question on the ballot to repeal the same-sex marriage ban in the state Constitution.

The 28 Democrats to join Rabhi in sponsoring these bills are: Reps. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield), Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.), Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), John Cherry (D-Flint), Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), Brian Elder (D-Bay City), Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak), Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw), Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), Kara Hope (D-Holt), Sheryl Kennedy (D-Davison), Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.), Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), Kristy Pagan (D-Canton), Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Tim Sneller (D-Burton), Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Twp.), Lori Stone (D-Warren), Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park), Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.),  Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) and House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills).

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.