Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

Lansing Update: November 7, 2014

  1. 6th Circuit Upholds Michigan Marriage Amendment; Reverses District Court Decision
  2. MCC Thanks Catholics for Election Participation
  3. Federal Legislative Race Results
  4. State Level Executive Race Results
  5. Michigan Legislature Chosen; Leadership Roles Decided
  6. “Lame Duck” Session

6th Circuit Upholds Michigan Marriage Amendment; Reverses District Court Decision

On Thursday, November 6th, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld Michigan’s 2004 Marriage Amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. MCC released the following statement after the decision, which reversed the U.S. District Court ruling earlier in March:

“Today’s ruling is a joyous occasion for many communities and families across the state that have sought to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Those who ruled in the majority deserve applause for applying the rule of law and for recognizing voter intent to secure one man and one woman in marriage. By upholding the Michigan Marriage Amendment, the Court has ruled to protect a timeless institution. We appreciate Attorney General Bill Schuette in his tireless efforts to fulfill his oath of office by defending the 2004 voter-approved marriage amendment. It must also be restated, because so many seek to misinterpret the teachings of the Catholic Church, that support for marriage between one man and one woman in no way diminishes the dignity and worth that must be afforded to all human persons, regardless of orientation. Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to affirm the truth about marriage and support any necessary legal efforts that defend the Michigan Marriage Amendment.”

The couple who have challenged Michigan’s Marriage Amendment have indicated that they will continue to fight the decision and appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

MCC Thanks Catholics for Election Participation

Prior to Tuesday’s election, Michigan Catholic Conference urged Catholics to form their conscience based on the principles of Catholic social teaching and to evaluate candidates through the lens of faith. Michigan Catholic Conference is thankful to everyone who voted as well as to the dioceses and parishes for promoting voter education materials and the importance of faithful citizenship. The paragraphs below provide a brief highlight of the election results and the remaining legislative session.

Federal Legislative Race Results

  • United States Senate: Congressman Gary Peters defeated former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land 55% to 41%. Along with Senator Debbie Stabenow, who was not up for re-election this year, Democrats will continue to hold both Michigan seats in the United States Senate.
  • U.S. Congress: Republicans will maintain a 9–5 advantage in Michigan’s congressional delegation. Newcomers to the Republican side include State Senator John Moolenaar (4th District), former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (8th District), and attorney David Trott (11th District). Democratic newcomers include Debbie Dingell (12th District), wife of former congressman John Dingell, and former Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence (14th District). These new members will join incumbents Dan Benishek (1st District), Bill Huizenga (2nd District), Justin Amash (3rd District), Dan Kildee (5th District), Fred Upton (6th), Tim Walberg (7th), Sander Levin (9th District), Candice Miller (10th District), and John Conyers Jr (13th District) next year.

State Level Executive Race Results

  • Governor: Republican incumbent Rick Snyder defeated former Congressman Mark Schauer 51% to 47%. Governor Snyder, along with Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, will lead Michigan for the next four years.
  • Attorney General: Republican incumbent Bill Schuette defeated Democratic candidate Mark Totten 52% to 44% for a second term as the state’s top law enforcement official.
  • Secretary of State: Republican incumbent Ruth Johnson defeated Democratic challenger Godfrey Dillard 53% to 43% for a second and final term.
  • Michigan Supreme Court: With 62% of the vote, Justice David Viviano will complete a partial term on the Court after being appointed by Governor Snyder in 2013 to fill a seat vacated by a former justice who left the bench. Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra (32%) and attorney Richard Bernstein (29%) collected the most votes in a field of five candidates to fill eight-year terms on the Court. Republican-endorsed candidates will continue to hold a 5–2 advantage on the state’s highest court.
  • State Board of Education: In an otherwise difficult day for Democrats, the party claimed all available seats for a 6–2 advantage on the Board. Democrats also won open seats for the University of Michigan Board of Regents, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, and the Wayne State Board of Governors. The governing boards of the three major state universities are decided at the statewide ballot.

Michigan Legislature Chosen; Leadership Roles Decided

In the State Senate, Republicans picked up an extra seat to widen their supermajority status in the Michigan Legislature’s upper chamber. With a 27–11 advantage, Republicans will hold the largest Senate majority the state has witnessed since 1954. In the House of Representatives, Republicans picked up four additional seats to increase their majority to 63 seats, compared to the Democrats’ 47. On Thursday, November 6, both chambers held leadership elections for the majority and minority positions. In the Michigan Senate, Senator Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) will serve as Senate Majority Leader and Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) will serve as Senate Minority Leader. In the Michigan House, Representative Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) has been elected to serve as the Speaker of the House and Representative Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) will continue his position as House Minority Leader.

“Lame Duck” Session

The Michigan Legislature will now move into “Lame Duck,” which refers to the time period between the General Election and the end of the legislative session. This period could either be highly active or include a low-level of legislative activity, depending on the quantity of measures that leadership cares to address before the end of the session. Michigan Catholic Conference will continue to monitor its advocacy agenda during the Lame Duck session and will engage elected officials and their staff should any measure of concern to the Church come up for debate. As MCC staff await to see what issues will come up, it is important that members of the Catholic Advocacy Network stay alert in case advocacy messages are needed. Faithful citizenship does not end with the elections! Please encourage your friends and family to sign up also at for these important updates and advocacy opportunities.

If you haven't done so already, please join the Catholic Advocacy Network to receive regular public policy updates—including Lansing Update—via email.

If you haven't done so already, please join the Catholic Advocacy Network to receive regular public policy updates—including Lansing Update—via email. For other news and information, follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, or visit MCC’s webpage.

Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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