Michigan Marriage Amendment, Proposal 2 (2004)

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The Michigan Marriage Initiative, also known as Proposal 2, was on the November 2004 ballot in Michigan as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved and later overturned.[1] The had stated that the union of one man and one woman in marriage would be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.[2][3]


On March 21, 2014, a federal district court judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the measure violated the U.S. Constitution, and ordered that the state stop enforcing the ban. Friedman stated that, "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." The ruling followed similar rulings in Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah. However, the rulings in those cases only suspended the enforcement of similar laws until appeals could be made to higher courts.[3]

On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court's ruling in Michigan. In a 2 to 1 vote, Judge Jeffrey Sutton and Judge Deborah Cook upheld the voter-approved ban. Judge Sutton said:

When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.[4]

—Judge Jeffrey Sutton[5]

He also argued that states have an interest in defining measure "not to regulate love but to regulate sex, most especially the intended and unintended effects of male-female intercourse." Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, the court's dissenter, delivered a critical opinion. She said, "If we in the judiciary do not have the authority, and indeed the responsibility, to right fundamental wrongs left excused by a majority of the electorate, our whole intricate, constitutional system of checks and balances, as well as the oaths to which we swore, prove to be nothing but shams."[5]

Appeals to the US Supreme Court were filed for the Michigan case and for cases from other states in the Sixth Circuit's jurisdiction. The Michigan petition asked the nation's highest court to decide "[w]hether a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples the right to marry."[6] The US Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from states seeking to uphold same-sex marriage bans in October 2014, which was before the Sixth Circuit's ruling. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hinted at the court's reasoning, saying, "Now if that court should disagree with the others, then there will be some urgency in the court taking the case."[7] With the Sixth Circuit's ruling, there is now a disagreement between appeals courts.

Election results

Michigan Proposal 2 (2004)
Approveda Yes 2,698,077 58.62%

Official results via: The Michigan Secretary of the State

Financing the campaign

The "yes" campaign spent $1,931,409 and the "no" campaign spent $854,212.[8]

Major donors to the "yes" side were:

  • Archdiocese of Detroit, $538,100.
  • Jointly, the Dioceses of Lansing, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Gaylord, Kalamazoo and Marquette, $461,900.
  • Family Research Council, $376,397.

Major donors to the "no" side were:

  • Human Rights Campaign, $231,081.
  • Jon Stryker, $20,000.

Related measures

Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:


Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:

Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:


The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:

Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.

See also

Suggest a link

External links