Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Amendment (2016)
Marriage and Family
|Not on ballot|
Supporters call the measure the Michigan for Marriage Initiative.
The ballot measure campaign was started to overturn a previous measure, Proposal 2 of 2004. A favorable court ruling, however, would cause same-sex marriage proponents to end their initiative campaign.
In 2004, Michiganders approved Proposal 2, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the Michigan Constitution. On March 21, 2014, US District Judge Bernard Friedman overturned the initiated amendment. Friedman stated, "The court finds the (amendment) impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable state interest." Approximately 300 same-sex marriages were performed before the judge's ruling was stayed the following day. Michigan cited Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the US Supreme Court's decision on the state's affirmative action ban, as precedent for a judicial ruling on same-sex marriage banned via direct democracy and majoritarian rule. Michigan's brief quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy, who said, "It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds... Freedom embraces the right, indeed the duty, to engage in a rational, civic discourse in order to determine how best to form a consensus to shape the destiny of the Nation and its people. These First Amendment dynamics would be disserved if this Court were to say that the question here at issue is beyond the capacity of the voters to debate and then to determine."
Michigan for Marriage is leading the campaign in support of the initiative.
Michigan for Marriage, the organization leading the initiative campaign, listed the following as arguments for same-sex marriage in Michigan:
|“||Why Marriage Matters
Freedom means freedom for everyone.
It’s as simple as the Golden Rule.
Allowing marriage will boost our state’s economy and business competitiveness.
Marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples.
Allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to get married does not change the meaning of marriage.
—Michigan for Marriage, 
Other arguments in favor of the amendment include:
- Former Sen. Leon Drolet (R-11) argued, "I view this as being consistent with my principles that government should treat everybody equally, without regard to race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation."
- Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) argued, "The voters’ decision to tie marriage to opposite sex couples, as it has been throughout all of human history, thus is not an act of bigotry or animus. It is a simple recognition that biology matters. Same-sex couples are not similarly situated to opposite-sex couples when it comes to producing children. Same-sex couples cannot produce a child unintentionally; they can only have a child through deliberate medical procedures that require the participation of at least one person (someone of the opposite sex) outside the couple. Promoting marriage for opposite-sex unions directly advances the State’s goal."
Path to the ballot
Michigan's signature requirements are tied to the total number of votes cast for the office of governor at the prior election. Michigan has a gubernatorial election in 2014. Therefore, the total number of signatures that initiative proponents will be required to collect for the 2016 ballot is equivalent to 10% of the total number of votes for governor in 2014.
Proponents will have 180 days from their approval for petition circulation to collect the signatures. The signatures will need to be filed at least 120 days before the 2016 general election.
- 2016 ballot measures
- Michigan 2016 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Michigan
- The Detroit News, "Education campaign planned to support same-sex marriage in Michigan," May 7, 2014
- USA Today, "Gay-marriage advocates plan new Mich. campaign," May 8, 2014
- CNN, "Federal judge strikes down Michigan's gay marriage ban," accessed March 24, 2014
- MLive, "Michigan cites Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling in gay marriage appeal," May 7, 2014
- Michigan for Marriage
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Michigan for Marriage, "Why Marriage Matters," accessed May 9, 2014