Gay marriage battlegrounds: 7 states to watch

In the states, the battle over gay marriage is gathering steam. Federal judges have preempted local efforts toward legal gay marriage in some states, while activists in other states are gearing up for ballot measures. One state may be moving toward a stronger defense of traditional marriage. Here's the state-by-state rundown.

2. Michigan

Paul Sancya/AP
In a March 5, 2013 photo, April DeBoer, second from left, sits with her adopted daughter, Ryanne, 3, left, and Jayne Rowse, fourth from left, and her adopted sons Jacob, 3, middle, and Nolan, 4, right, at their home in Hazel Park, Mich. A judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit by the two women challenging Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and joint adoptions by same-sex couples.

In 2004, Michigan voters easily passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, a measure that forbids same-sex couples from attaining any form of legal family status. But by November 2012, 56 percent of the state’s residents said they supported gay marriage, according to Michigan State University’s State of the Union Survey.

Gay rights advocates are working to put the issue to voters in a state referendum. But a lawsuit filed by two women trying to adopt each other’s children could also overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban. On July 1, a federal district judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit and ordered a trial, saying that in light of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, the “plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.” 

Meanwhile, Democrats have introduced pro-gay marriage legislation in the state legislature aimed at setting up a referendum. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which opposes gay marriage, says it will use that to activate its supporters.

“A lot of our people have been on the sidelines waiting for the Supreme Court to decide,” says Thomas Peters of NOM. “Now we can go back to them.” 

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