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Lawmakers introduce marriage-equality bills in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. -- State Reps. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) today announced the introduction of a legislative package to legalize marriage equality in Michigan.

Their announcement comes before the U.S. Supreme Court is due to release their ruling early this week on Proposal 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), two cases dealing with marriage equality.

"My colleagues and I believe that Michigan cannot wait any longer to recognize marriage equality and allow all people the equal rights and benefits that married couples currently enjoy," Singh said.

"It's time for Michigan to stop discriminating against the thousands of couples who want to marry and enjoy the same recognition and benefits for themselves and their children that come with marriage, and that my wife, Kathryn, and our kids enjoy," Irwin said. "The legislation that we propose today represents the next step in the fight to ensure all citizens are equal in Michigan."

The first piece in the legislative package is a house joint resolution that would amend Michigan's constitution to allow marriage equality. Same-sex marriage was banned in Michigan in 2004. The second bill amends the foreign marriage act by removing the prohibition against same-sex marriage allowing marriages solemnized in other states to be recognized in Michigan, while the third bill amends Michigan's marriage laws authorizing who may marry. The final piece is a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to repeal DOMA and respect equality for all U.S. citizens.

"Recent polls have shown that the tide is shifting and a majority of citizens support marriage equality. With or without those polls, supporting the love of our brothers, sisters, friends, and their partners in this fight for inclusiveness is the right move for Michigan and the right thing to do," Hobbs said.

"Marriage is about protecting our families," Segal said. "All children deserve security and stability at home, and all couples who are in a loving and committed relationship deserve the same legal protections that my husband and I enjoy. Marriage equality is a step forward that will have an incredibly positive impact on countless Michigan children and strengthen all of our families."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule as early as Tuesday morning.

Though there are a number of possible outcomes, a favorable broad ruling on Proposal 8 would invalidate discrimination in any marriage, extending full rights to couples already engaged in a civil union or domestic partnership, and pave the way for marriage equality to be enacted in every state.

"There is clear momentum across the country on this issue. Michigan cannot afford to lag behind as other states open their doors to all families. We need to attract the best and the brightest, and that means welcoming everyone. It is hard to encourage talented people and their families to move and work in Michigan when they're denied the ability to take care of each other," Singh said.

The bills are expected to face an uphill battle in the legislature.