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New poll: Majority of Michiganders supports marriage equality

Marriage equality

By Jacob CombsMichigan state seal

A new poll released yesterday in Michigan reveals a dramatic uptick in support for marriage equality in the state, with 56.6 percent of respondents favoring equal marriage rights and 36.7 percent opposed, according to the Detroit News.

Those numbers represent a remarkable increase–more than 12 percentage points–of public support for marriage equality in Michigan since last year, a shift that was attributable in large part by Republicans and independent voters changing their minds on marriage rights.  Support amongst Republicans increased more than 16 percent since last year, while independent voters’ support jumped by 14 percent.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a policy question move as quickly as this one,” said Richard Czuba, president of Glengariff Group, a Chicago-based organization which conducted the poll and has examined Michiganders’ views on LGBT rights since 2004.  According to Glengariff’s poll, 90 percent of the state’s voters favor some kind of legal protection for gays and lesbians, with 65 percent supporting civil unions.

As we noted earlier this month, Michigan has some of the weakest LGBT rights laws in the nation: the state constitution bans both marriage equality and civil unions or domestic partnerships and joint adoption by same-sex couples is illegal.  Only government employees are protected from employment discrimination based on gender expression or sexual orientation, and Michigan was one of only 14 states with a sodomy law on the books when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such statutes unconstitutional in 2003.

According to the Detroit News, LGBT rights legislation is expected to be filed in the current legislative session, and Equality Michigan is laying the groundwork for a 2016 ballot measure to repeal the state’s marriage equality ban, added to the Michigan constitution in 2004.  A federal district court challenge to the state’s marriage ban and adoption laws is currently on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of Prop 8 and DOMA.  That case is known as DeBoer v. Snyder.

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