Hearings Likely on Anti-Same Sex Marriage Amendment

January 16, 2004

Michigan’s anti-gay organizations have mobilized to pressure Michigan’s Senators to take action on Senate Joint Resolution E (SJR E), a pending amendment to the state Constitution, by mid-February.

Your help is needed to ensure that the resolution fails.

The proposed amendment would amend Michigan’s Declaration of Rights to prohibit the recognition of not only same-sex marriage, but also civil unions and domestic partnerships – gay or straight.

Hearings will be held in the next few weeks and anti-gay groups hope a vote will occur by the end of February.

SJR E needlessly creates a divisive issue during difficult times, duplicates existing statutes, limits the authority of local governments, and creates ambiguities in the law, it must be rejected.  Please speak out in favor of tolerance and urge your Senator to reject this proposal.

Contact your state senator and representative (see update below) now and keep the letters coming until the end of February.  Please forward this alert on. 

Find your senator at:  http://www.senate.state.mi.us/SenatorInfo/find-your-senator.htm

Find your representative at: http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp

Sample comments:

*Senator Cropsey’s proposal would seize authority from democratically elected local officials, state school board members, and university regents who have adopted policies which treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families equally. 

*The proposal is discriminatory and unnecessary.  A constitution should be amended only when clearly necessary.  If the goal of the proposed amendment is to ensure that marriage is limited to opposite sex couples, that goal has already been accomplished by statute.

*The proposed state constitutional amendment will needlessly divide the community. Even those who do not think the institution of marriage should be extended to same-sex couples oppose the idea of amending the constitution in this fashion, according to a September 22, 2003 ABC News poll (6 out of 10 Americans oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage even if they're generally opposed to such unions).

*Regardless of one’s perspective of the propriety of homosexuality, gay and lesbian families – including the parents and children of gay and lesbian individuals – suffer when the law does not recognize such relationships. 

*This struggle is not about special rights, but equality.  By altering Michigan’s Declaration of Rights in this way, little is done to “preserve the benefits of marriage for [Michigan’s] children,” as Senator Cropsey claims. 

UPDATE - House Joint Resolution U Introduced in Michigan House of Representatives

On January 22, 2004 Representative Gary Newell introduced the House companion piece to Senator Alan Cropsey’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and any form of recognition of same-sex relationships. 

The House bill has the same wording as the Senate version and would prevent local governments and colleges from recognizing domestic partners of both hetereosexual and homosexual individuals. 

The current strategy appears to be letting the amendment first pass the House, in order to put pressure on the Senate to follow suit. 

Contact your state representative and let her/him know that you oppose writing discrimination into the state constitution and putting LGBT families and their children at risk. 

UPDATED ON 1/30/04