Democratic senators in Michigan are hoping a quartet of gay rights bills and resolutions will make it past the Republican-led House and Senate and to the people, where polls show support for same-sex marriage.
On May 29, Sen. Rebekah Warren introduced “Senate joint Resolution W,” a measure which would put out a ballot initiative and give Michigan residents the chance to lift a statewide ban on gay marriage.
Senate Bill 405, proposed by Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, with overturn restrictions on gay couples that existed even prior to the ban. Sen. Virgil Smith is introducing Senate Bill 406, which recognize same-sex marriage performed in other states, and Sen. Bert Johnson is sponsoring a resolution calling for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
The legislators were inspired by a recent poll that showed shifting attitudes in the state. A May poll of 600 registered Michigan voters by the Detroit News found that a 56.8 percent majority support gay marriage.
“This legislation will not only allow all couples to make a lifetime commitment to one another, but also extend important legal protections to them and their children,” Sen. Warren said referring to the bills in a statement.
In 2004, Michigan residents voted to implement a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Also, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation to ban state employees from receiving domestic partner benefits.
Currently, the only gay people able to get married in Michigan are members of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian nation.