Sunday, November 8, 2009

Michigan legislator introduces resolution to amend state constitution to repeal gay marriage bans; efforts to repeal bans or overturn marriage equaity

11/22/09 update: See also this Huffington Post on marriage-equality legislation in states whose constitutions ban same-sex marriage

11/04/09 The Detroit News and 11/05/09 East Lansing

Michigan has constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage. Its constitution has a "super-DOMA" amendment (Art. 1, § 25) that also bans recognition of unions similar to marriage "for any purpose." In National Pride at Work, Inc. v. Governor of Michigan, 748 N.W.2d 524 (Mich. 2008), the state Supreme Court ruled that the city of Kalamazoo could not extend benefits to the qualified domestic partners of city employees.

Kalamazoo voters have just adopted a law that bars discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation. The Detroit News reports that Pam Byrnes, Speaker Pro Tem of the Michigan House, has also introduced a resolution to amend the state constitution to allow same-sex marriage:
Both chambers would have to pass the resolution to place the question on the ballot, a scenario unlikely to happen in the Republican-controlled Senate. If the resolution doesn't pass, proponents would have to collect more than 380,000 signatures to bring the question to a vote in the Nov. 2, 2010, general election. 11/04/09 The Detroit News
The resolution is not yet available online.

Despite voter rejection of Maine's marriage-equality law, activists in states other than California may now launch ballot measures to repeal constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. (Incidentally, a recent Los Angeles Times poll shows that 60% of Californians do not want to vote on a measure to repeal Prop.8 in 2010.) The NY Times reports that a group in Oregon may try to qualify a ballot measure to repeal that state's constitutional ban, perhaps as early as 2012. (See this report on Basic Rights Oregon.)

But the Huffington Post reports that "in New Hampshire, conservatives have filed legislation to repeal the state's new gay-marriage law and amend the constitution to ban such unions." (The New Hampshire bill is not yet available online.) According to this article, another "movement is under way that aims to undo the marriage licenses given to same-sex couples since the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay and lesbian marriages in April."

Although Washington voters have approved the state's "all-but-marriage" law for same-sex couples, advocates of same-sex marriage are reported not to be aiming at an initiative in 2010. Finally, despite the D.C. Council's recent hearings (here and here) on marriage-equality legislation, proponents of the Marriage Initiative of 2009 hope to qualify it for the ballot. The Washington Blade reports here on the D.C. Elections hearing of the qualification question, and has an editorial on the hearing here by attorney Mark Levine.

No comments:

Commentators, Subjects and Cases