• Twenty-nine Democratic representatives are introducing 54 bills (HBs 6045-6098) and a House joint resolution (HJR T) to bring Michigan law into compliance with the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process for all.
  • It has been five years since the US Supreme Court ruled Michigan’s same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, but those unenforceable bans remain in the Michigan Constitution and state law.
  • Gender-specific discriminatory references to spouses still permeate Michigan law, for example referring only to a veteran’s wife or to joint tax returns filed by a husband and wife.

LANSING, Mich., —Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) has coordinated a group of Democratic representatives to sponsor a sweeping bill package to remove Michigan’s unconstitutional same-sex marriage bans and discriminatory language throughout the state’s legal code. The legislation includes a House joint resolution aimed at removing the marriage equality ban from the state constitution, along with 54 bills to repeal the legislative marriage equality bans and amend discriminatory gendered language.

“Our state laws should provide equal rights and dignity to all Michiganders,” Rep. Rabhi said. “These bills are about upholding the guarantees of equal protection and due process under the federal Constitution. Language is important, and we must ensure that our laws do not further burden Michigan families with having to navigate a legal framework built on antiquated and discriminatory thinking.”

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Twenty-eight Democratic representatives have joined Rep. Rabhi in sponsoring bills in the package: Democratic Leader Christine Greig, Reps. Anthony, Bolden, Brixie, B. Carter, Cherry, Clemente, Elder, Ellison, Guerra, Haadsma, Hertel, Hoadley, Hood, Hope, Kennedy, Koleszar, Kuppa, Lasinski, Manoogian, Pagan, Pohutsky, Sneller, Sowerby, Stone, Warren, Wittenberg, Witwer, and Yancey.

Dana Nessel, Michigan’s attorney general, litigated one of the marriage equality cases that led to the Obergefell decision.

“Marriage equality became the law of the land five years ago with the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling, but language in many of Michigan’s laws and our state constitution remain tainted with dated discriminatory references,” Attorney General Nessel said. “It’s time to remove these unenforceable provisions from the books so that we can move forward as a state, hopefully, with a fresh perspective in mind – one that is supported by the highest court in this country, and one that focuses on equality and inclusion.”

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The 54 bills in the package, House Bills 6045-6098, would amend discriminatory references to spouses and parents in-laws ranging from the Divorce Act to the State Potato Industry Commission Act. They would also repeal direct bans on same-sex marriage codified in three acts. Under Michigan’s constitution, a single bill can usually amend only one act at a time. House Joint Resolution T would put a question on the ballot to repeal the same-sex marriage ban in the state constitution. The changes were recommended by the Michigan Law Revision Commission to bring Michigan into compliance with the US Constitution following the US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges.

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