Post submitted by Adam Bradley, HRC Communications Intern
To hear Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette tell it, his state is truly in a bind. If a pending challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban succeeds, state officials will lose all control over Michiganders’ sexual conduct, the birth rate will plummet, and what few children are left will be raised in broken and irresponsible households.
That, at least, is the argument put forth by the state’s top lawyer in a brief opposing a motion by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. The Hazel Park couple had initially challenged Michigan’s ban on joint adoption by same-sex couples, a case which has evolved to question the constitutionality of the state’s marriage laws.
“One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan,” the AG brief reads, “is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.”
Schuette was also quick to speak out after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision striking down section 3 of DOMA in June, declaring that “the will of the people to define marriage as between one man and one woman endures in the Great Lakes State.”
Of course, whether Schuette is attuned to “the will of the people” is suspect: a poll of Michigan voters earlier this year found support for same-sex marriage at 56.8 percent – an astounding 12.5 percentage point jump from just last year.
The state also argues in its brief that both bans should be overturned via ballot initiative rather than through the courts.
“If Michigan’s definition of marriage is to be changed,” the brief continues, “and if joint unmarried adoptions are to be authorized, both should be done by the people of the State of Michigan.”
In polling and in cases like DeBoer and Rowse’s, the people of Michigan have shown an evolution on the issue of marriage equality. It’s time for state officials like Schuette to do the same.