Analysts Weigh In On What Gay Marriage Decision Means for Michigan

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, unconstitutional, the political implications of the decision are tremendous.

Bernie Porn, a pollster with Epic-MRA, said with support for same-sex marriage trending upward among Michigan voters, he expects the issue to take center stage for both parties on a national level and locally in Michigan.

"There's been a sea-change of opinion on gay marriage and gay rights issues," Porn said. "Having this Supreme Court decision puts it more in play in politics."

A News 10 "Voice of the Voter" poll from May shows if the election were held today 55 percent of Michigan voters would support a constitution amendment to allow same-sex marriage.

That same poll also shows 69 percent of voters would favor amending the state's "Elliot Larson" civil rights act to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Porn said for Republicans running in competitive districts, their support or opposition of the issue could prove to be especially crucial.

"They have to be careful because Democrats overwhelmingly support gay marriage, Independents fairly solidly support gay marriage and even Republican women are not as opposed to it as Republican men," he said.

But even with a majority of voters supporting gay rights, Bill Ballenger with "Inside Michigan Politics" said any action at the state level on the topic of gay marriage probably won't happen in the next year.

"Most people are thinking if there's action in the direction of getting rid of Michigan's ban it's not going to be in 2014, it's probably going to be in 2016," Ballenger said.

Ballenger said he expects the issue would have a better chance of getting passed if it was taken up during a presidential election year because of bigger voter turnouts.

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