Michiganders young and old, married or single, will see big changes if Proposal 2 is passed this year.[ban]
Proposal 2 is an amendment to Michigan’s constitution that will appear on election ballots this November 2. Though it is often thought of as the gay marriage proposal, it goes far beyond restricting same-sex marriages, which are already illegal in Michigan. Both state and federal laws, which do not allow same-sex marriages, have been in place for years.
Patrick Collora, public relations representative for The Alliance of Les-Bi-Gay-Transgender and Straight Ally Students at MSU, agrees. “Same sex marriage is already illegal in Michigan by three state laws in addition to federal laws.”
So then what is Proposal 2 going to exactly change in Michigan if not outlawing gay marriage?
The Coalition for a Fair Michigan, an activist group based in Lansing, warns that Proposal 2 will not only affect gay and lesbian couples, but will also affect straight couples as well. Their website outlines what could happen to civil unions between both the gay and straight if Proposal 2 is passed.
“Proposal 2 would permanently ban civil unions and domestic partnerships between men and women and for same-gender couples,” the Coalition stated. “In fact, it would prohibit any legal recognition of unmarried partners, gay or straight, which means that benefits currently provided to those partners– like health care or retirement benefits– would be taken away.”
Courtney Snowden, a representative from The Coalition for a Fair Michigan, agrees that large amounts of Michiganders will be affected if Michigan’s constitution is amended.
“If the proposal passes it will be the first time the state Constitution would be used to restrict, rather than expand, rights in Michigan,” Snowden said. “The elderly, young people and parents will lose benefits and it will hurt everyone, especially our most vulnerable.”
In this country marriage is recognized whether performed by a judge or through a religious ceremony. One does not have to be tied to any religion at all to be considered legally married. Marriages between men and women who are atheist are performed at the justice of the peace are just as readily accepted as those performed in a church.
“Federal and state marriage benefits are components of civil marriage,” Collora said. “Depending on their religious beliefs, a same sex couple might consider their union to have religious meaning while an opposite sex couple might not or vice versa. This is independent of the law.”
Currently, only one state allows same-sex marriage and that is Massachusetts. However, Vermont offers civil unions, which provides legal recognition for same-sex relationships, but it is not marriage.
“Marriage and civil unions, respectively, are not legal in any other state,” Snowden said. “No states outside of the two listed recognize same-sex unions as marriage or civil unions.”
Collora believes that no one should be excluded on issues such as marriage or civil unions, nor should they be prohibited to perform their ceremony from a church.
“People are free to marry where they want to, and if someone believes marriage should be performed in a church, they can get married in a church,” Collora said. We are free to practice the religion we choose in this country, so the law should not reflect any one particular belief.”
Michigan voters will get to decide the fate of same-sex marriages and civil unions on Tuesday.

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