Monday, February 1, 2016

Not ready

Yeah, it has been a while...

Back in December I noted that one group, Fair Michigan, looked at polling data and said that the state was ready for a constitutional amendment to protect gay rights. Other groups, Equality Michigan and ACLU, looked at voter modeling and determined that an amendment would not pass and we would need to expend a significant amount of money and hours to change the large number of minds for the amendment to pass.

Fair Michigan proceeded with their plans. They created wording for their petition and put it before the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which approved it in mid January. They could begin to collect the 315,000 signatures needed to put the question to voters in November.

But two weeks later Fair Michigan suspended their effort. The reason: they couldn't raise the millions of dollars needed to mount the petition drive and pay for the campaign. It appears that when Equality Michigan said they doubted it would work, lots of wallets closed.

Fair Michigan says we need to gain our rights through a ballot measure. Equality Michigan says a ballot loss will set us back both in Michigan and nationally so we have to go through the legislature. Neither looks like it will happen any time soon. Which means national LGBT rights groups have a strategy that doesn't include Michigan. They don't think we're ready.

So they're focusing on states where they think chances in those legislatures are better. Likely next are Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Indiana? The state that prompted such an uproar last spring and has more Religious Freedom Restoration Acts on the way? That Indiana? Pardon my skepticism.

Thus the Michigan strategy is to let other states go first.

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