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Austin Cline

Gay Rights in Michigan

By March 24, 2005

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Voters in Michigan passed an amendment to the state's constitution that was supposed to ban gay marriage, but critics noted that the language was much broader than that. Now the state attorney general says that the critics were right all along.

Dan Herzog writes:

The attorney general reports that as a matter of state law on constitutional provisions, "the primary rule of construction is to give effect to the intent of the people of the State of Michigan who ratified the Constitution by applying the rule of "common understanding."

You might think that settles the matter:  the voters thought they were banning gay marriage, period, right?  Well, no.  The attorney general continues, and he's right on the legal merits, "But if the constitution employs technical or legal terms of art, those terms must be construed according to their technical or legal sense because, "in ratifying a constitution, the people may understand that certain terms used in that document have a technical meaning within the law."

The Christian Right thinks this is great:

Gary Glenn of the American Family Association is one happy camper: "I don't think there's any question the majority of Michigan taxpayers will be strongly supportive of the attorney general's opinion," he said.

And a member of Citizens for the Protection of Marriage embraced the advisory opinion, too, making explicit the links between marriage, religion, and traditional gender norms. "Mary Hann said restricting benefits to only heterosexual marriages is important in keeping marriage sacred, which is what Michigan residents voted for. "Traditionally, the benefits were won because a man would provide income for the family so women could stay home and take care of children," Hann said.  "To try to arrange a new term of marriage to further people getting better and better benefits doesn't make sense.""

Herzog notes that many supporters of the constitutional amendment made a point of emphasizing that they only opposed gay marriage, not domestic partner arrangements. Where are they now? They appear to be silent. It's almost as if they knew this would happen and, for some strange reason, are pleased with the situation. You don't suppose that's what's happening, do you?

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June 1, 2008 at 4:58 pm
(1) Aslan says:

Quite honestly, I DO believe that’s exactly what’s happening.

The only reasons these people have to oppose gay couples is VERY weak religious reasons, and VERY VERY weak emotional reasons.

They’re not thinking about what’s best for ALL the people, only for their own egos. They know that, and I’m CERTAIN the state knew that.

So, now what do we do, now that the bigots have won? …I smell a “California” happening in Michigan some day soon.

March 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm
(2) Zoey. says:

All people should be able to marry.
It doesn’t matter about gender, it’s about whether they love each other.
If a man and women are able to marry, why can’t gays, lesbians, and other parts of the gay community not be able to?
If you think of it, it sort of has to do with the first amendment.
It doesn’t exactly say state anything about same sex marriage, but that wasn’t a big deal then.
Same sex marriage should be completely legal. [In all of U.S.]

April 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm
(3) rae says:

…why should marriage be sacred if the only reason it is is so the MAN provides for the family ehile the WOMAN stays home to care for the house. last time i checked it was 2010 ..both men n woman provide for themselves now. why should a hetero couple b allowed to get married wen they r so willing to annull it or get divorced. im all about keeping marriage sacred wen u truly marry 4 love! if two people LOVE eachother regardless if they are homosexual or heterosexual they should b able 2 get married. We as a people ARE SUPPOSED TO BE EQUAL. our sexual preference has NOTHING 2DO with equality as a whole.

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