LGBT rights in Michigan
|LGBT rights in Michigan|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1990 in Wayne County
(Michigan Organization for Human Rights v. Kelley)
Legal statewide since 2003
(Lawrence v. Texas)
|Gender identity/expression||Altering sex on birth certificate requires sex reassignment surgery|
|Discrimination protections||Within Government employment and nearly 30 municipalities (see below)|
|Michigan Proposal 04-2 limits marriage to man/woman, places restrictions on non-marriage types of same-sex unions|
|Adoption||Joint adoption illegal|
The Michigan constitution bans same-sex marriage and places restrictions towards the forming of same-sex unions.
Laws against same-sex intimate contact
Sexual acts between persons of the same sex are legal in Michigan. They had been criminalized until the state's sodomy laws, which applied to both homosexuals and heterosexuals, were invalidated in 2003 by the United States Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment, Michigan Proposal 04-2, that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. It passed with 58.6% of the vote. The Michigan Supreme Court later ruled that public employers in Michigan would not be legally allowed to grant domestic partnership benefits based on the recently passed measure.
A law in effect since December 2011 banned most public employers, though not colleges and universities, from offering health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. It did not extend to workers whose benefits are established by the Michigan Civil Service Commission. Five same-sex couples challenged the law in Bassett v. Snyder citing the state's refusal to recognize their marriages or refusal to allow them to marry. On June 28, 2013, U.S. District Judge David S. Lawson issued an injunction blocking the state from enforcing its law banning local governments and school districts from offering health benefits to their employees' domestic partners.
In August 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman invited two lesbians who were challenging the state's ban on adoption by same-sex couples to amend their suit to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage, "the underlying issue". They did so on September 7. On March 7, 2013, after hearing arguments in the case, DeBoer v. Snyder, Friedman announced that he would delay ruling pending the outcome of two same-sex marriage cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 1, citing the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, he denied the state officials' motion to dismiss the suit. According to Friedman, the plaintiffs "are entitled to their day in court." Oral arguments were held on October 16, 2013, where Friedman announced a hearing would held on February 25, 2014.
In March 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed an emergency harbor dredging funding bill that made private marinas ineligible for a new loan program if they discriminate based on sexual orientation. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is also prohibited in government employment, but there are no other state-wide protections. Nearly thirty local municipalities have local human rights ordinances which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment and housing.
In March 2013, the Royal Oak City Commission voted 6-1 to enact a human rights ordinance inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation. Opponents collected more than 1,000 petition signatures to override the commission’s vote and put the issue before Royal Oak voters in the November 2013 election. Royal Oak voters rejected a similar human rights ordinance in 2001 by a 2-1 margin, but passed the ordinance in 2013 by a margin of 6,654 votes for and 5,670 votes against the measure. 
- East Lansing was the first community in the nation to enact civil rights protections that included sexual orientation.
- Ferndale voters passed the measure in 2006 after three voter referendums since the time it was first proposed in 1991.
- An ordinance expanding their current non-discrimination ordinance was passed in 2012. However when the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) law was voted down statewide, all ordinances enacted in Flint by the EMF were removed, including the non-discrimination ordinance. Their previous non-discrimination ordinance is still in effect, but the gender expression component is not.
- In 2001, the city council approved the measure, but opponents gathered enough signatures to force a citywide ballot question on the ordinance. In November 2001, voters then approved the measure, 1,982 to 896.
- The ordinance was first passed in December 2008. It was repealed in January 2009 when opponents submitted petitions to force a public vote. The city drafted language that offered a compromise, including the exemption for religious organizations. The city council voted unanimously in June 2009 to pass it. Groups opposed to including sexual orientation and gender identity in the ordinance again submitted petitions — 1,273 signatures were needed, 2,088 were gathered. On November 4, 2009, the ordinance was upheld with 7,671 people voting “yes” and 4,731 voting “no” — 60% to 37%.
- On 4 March 2013 the Pleasant Ridge City Commission passed a human rights ordinance in a 6-1 vote which included sexual orientation. On 9 April 2013, the Commission voted unanimously to also prohibits biases based on HIV status and gender identity.
- On 4 October 2011, the Traverse City Commission approved the measure to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Opponents of the law collected signatures to require a referendum. On 8 November 2011, Traverse City residents voted 63% to 37% in favor of retaining the city ordinance.
Michigan has no statutory ban on same-sex couples adopting, however state courts have ruled that unmarried individuals may not jointly petition to adopt.
Two Michigan lesbians, who are raising three children adopted by only one of them, filed a lawsuit in federal court in January 2012 seeking to have the state's ban on adoption by same-sex couples overturned. and in September amended that suit to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage as well. In December 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the state's adoption code permits second parent adoptions by same-sex couples.
A October 2004 EPIC-MRA poll found that 61% of Michigan voters supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, while 34% oppose it. When asked about what institutions of commitment same-sex couples should be allowed to enter, 17% said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, 43% said they should not be allowed to marry but should be able to form civil unions, and 36% opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions.
A October 2004 Glengariff Group poll showed 24% of Michiganders supported marriage rights for same-sex partners, and only 42% supported legal recognition of civil unions.
A June 2009 Glengariff Group poll showed a substantial shift in opinions towards the legal recognition of same-sex unions in Michigan, with 63.7% of residents supporting civil unions for same-sex couples and 46.5% of residents supporting full marriage rights for same-sex couples.
A July 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 33% of Michigan voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 53% thought it should be illegal and 14% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 62% of Michigan voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 29% supporting same-sex marriage, 33% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 35% favoring no legal recognition and 3% not sure.
Nearly a year later, in May 2012, a Public Policy Polling survey found that 41% of Michigan voters thought that same sex marriage should be legal, while 45% thought it should be illegal and 14% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 70% of Michigan voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 39% supporting same-sex marriage, 31% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 27% favoring no legal recognition and 3% not sure.
A November 2012 Michigan State University poll found support for gay marriage in Michigan had increased significantly. The survey found that 56% of the state’s residents supported gay marriage while 39% opposed it.
A 2013 Glengariff Group poll found that 57% of Michigan residents support same-sex marriage while 38% oppose.
- Politics of Michigan
- LGBT history in Michigan
- LGBT rights in the United States
- Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States
- Law of Michigan
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