Even Michigan Republicans think its state government is too anti-gay

Michigan’s state government is not representative of its people. The state voted for Barack Obama twice and has two Democratic senators, yet its governor and both houses of its legislature are Republican — as are nine of its fourteen members of Congress.

One would think that Michigan’s blue streak would lead its Republican leadership to back away from the culture war issues that have been steadily moving away from them, but you’d be wrong. The state has granted religious exemptions for adoption agencies that allows them to refuse to work with same-sex couples while still receiving state funding. It is considering a proposal that would prohibit anyone other than a member of the clergy from performing a marriage. And it remains legal in Michigan to fire an employee, or deny a renter an apartment, for being gay.

Public Policy Polling asked Michigan voters what they thought about those three policy issues and — surprise! — the voters don’t like what their state government is up to:

  • 68% of Michigan voters support legislation that would make it illegal to fire or deny an apartment to someone over their sexual orientation. That includes 76% of Democrats, 66% of independents and 60% of Republicans.
  • 69% oppose the proposal that would require the clergy to sign off on all marriages, with 73% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans in opposition.
  • 52% agreed that adoptions agencies that receive money from the state should not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

The poll also found support for background checks on gun purchases above 80 percent for all partisan groups. As the polling firm remarked when releasing the survey, “We just don’t see that kind of agreement across party lines on just about anything.”

Michigan Republicans are busy carrying out a theological agenda while their voters — even the ones in their base — are telling them to stop. That’s put downward pressure on Governor Rick Snyder’s approval rating, which now stands at 40%. That’s double the 20% approval rating Michigan voters give its state legislature, which is so unpopular that ever Republicans give it a net-negative rating, with 33% approving and 39% disapproving of their job performance.

One would think that the lesson here would be to not pursue policies that your voters hate, but you’d be wrong. The lesson here is to not waste the governing power you have. Get in office; push as many reactionary bills through as you possibly can; and hope a few of them involved changing the rules regarding who gets to vote and where the district lines are drawn so that you can do it all over again.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • rextrek1

    well I know I aint spending my tourism money in that awful state

  • Butch1

    I’m so glad I left Michigan over thirty-four years ago. I was born and raised there and it’s sad that the people cannot get their act together.

  • They don’t stay home. they show up and vote for anti-gay bigots and then yell at me when I call them out on it. They got their tax cuts and the rest of us can burn in hell for all they care. They do a bit of hand wringing about the religious right but it obviously doesn’t concern them enough to actually do anything about it and by do something I mean something as simple as sending an email. They don’t care but they aren’t so stupid as to think it doesn’t make them look bad to their gay neighbors, relatives and coworkers. They are no better than the religious right nutjobs. Worse, in fact, because they aren’t idiots, they know what harm they are causing and they don’t give a fuck except when someone gives them a dirty look at a cocktail party.

  • Butch1

    It doesn’t seem like anyone cares about this anymore.

  • Butch1

    If they continue to stay at home and not vote the bigots will continue to stay in power and push their agenda.
    It appears as though they have a strong Independent base from which to draw. I wish this base would start pushing ahead and start running good candidates against those clowns they have writing all these laws; the democrats seem to be very weak in the state. Perhaps Independents are the key.

  • Will they make this known at the next primary or keep voting in anti-gay bigots? If it’s the latter then I don’t believe they really feel that way. Actions matter. Talk is cheap.

  • maria_rmartin
  • GayEGO

    They are just wasting Michigan taxpayers money as these discrimination bills are going to lose as they are a waste of time.

  • AlaynaJPrice
  • devlzadvocate

    They aren’t done trying to fry marriage equality yet either. There are a number of bills waiting to be introduced. There is a lull in that action due to a lot of activity regarding road repair bills. The anti-marriage bills will be intro’d once the road bills are passed or axed. One such bill would require ALL marriage certificates to be signed by a member of the clergy. We all know that wouldn’t stand Constitutional muster, but it would muck things up until another delay tactic can be figured out. Specifically, Michigan Legislature (Tea Party) Reps. Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser have been most outspoken and anti-marriage.

  • Let’s also remember how Michigan has become the state where the Republicans can and will depose lawfully elected local governments and replace them with “emergency manager’ autocrats who then ram through whatever measures they feel like enacting.

    Locals won’t pass an eminent domain reg to seize properties so that a wealthy developer can turn affordable housing into unaffordable condos? No problem! Want to privatize the water treatment and distribution infrastructure, so your GOP-supporting billionaire backers can triple water utility fees? Done. And while you’re at it, you can sell off government buildings and parking meters, and even turn free highways into toll roads.

    Michigan is what the Republican party wants to turn the rest of America into. And it’s the opposite of a democratic republic under Constitutional laws. After all, they’re now utterly shameless about passing laws they know can’t possibly pass Constitutional muster — such as their abortion bans and these new proposals to require all marriages to be religiously enacted.

  • 2karmanot

    It’s about time journalists turned an eye on Michigan. Only Maddow has pointed out that the State is no longer a Democracy, but a Republican oligarchy based on racist disfranchisement, forfeiture, and police state suppression. In other words, Michigan has become a Republican wet dream of a war-lord paradise….a kind-of- poverty version of Shanghai.

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