The Faithful Divide Over Wedding Vows
A Profile of Michigan's 2004 Battle Over Marriage Equality
SOURCE: AP/Mindi Sokoloski
Download the report (pdf)
On November 2, 2004, voters in Michigan approved a state constitutional amendment that prohibited same-sex marriage. The amendment, known as Proposal 2, passed with nearly 60-percent support and came after vigorous efforts by advocacy groups and faith communities on both sides of the issue.
Supporters of Proposal 2 raised more money and waged a stronger campaign than their opponents. Proposal 2 supporters also relied heavily on religious arguments, while their opponents tended to frame their arguments mainly in secular terms, such as issues of civil rights and social justice. Supporters also launched a late barrage of spending, mailings, and sermons. Their efforts were successful, and the proposal passed. Exit polls showed that religion played a significant role in the outcome.
Since 2004, there have been several consequences to passage of Proposal 2. One has been the denial of health care benefits to same-sex partners in civil unions. Although Proposal 2 supporters claimed the proposal was limited to marriage and would not take away health benefits, in fact it did.
A review of the battle over Proposal 2, the alliances it shaped, and the efforts and tactics involved not only provides insights into the ballot-initiative process, but, more importantly, may help illuminate similar campaigns in the future. The arguments, organizing strategies, and communications messages that worked, or didn’t work, for Proposal 2 in Michigan can serve as lessons in future struggles. This paper will explore those strategies so that progressives in Michigan and other states can learn from the experiences in this battleground over marriage equality.
Download the report (pdf)
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or email@example.com