Jay Kaplan, ACLU of Michigan LGBT Attorney

It seems that we are on the right side of history for LGBT equality in Michigan and we have the numbers to prove it. According to a recent poll reported by the Detroit Free Press, Michiganders appear to be increasingly supportive of gay-friendly policies, supporting a range of issues from inheritance rights to civil unions.

In fact, support for civil unions has increased from 42 percent in 2004 to 63.7 percent today while support for marriage equality for same-sex couples has increased to 46.5 percent from 24 percent in 2004. The poll also found a shift of opinion in every demographic group, including self-identified Republicans. The pollster attributes much of the shift to an increase in the number of persons who know a gay or lesbian person in 2009 (80.2 percent compared to 56 percent in 2004.)

This might mean that support of marriage equality amongst Michigan voters is only a matter of time. But before we start celebrating, we must, in the meantime, explore and strategize each step that is necessary to achieve LGBT equality in employment, housing, public accommodations, and family relationships, including marriage. We need to continue to be out as LGBT people; to tell our stories about how our lives are affected when we are denied the same fundamental rights as other people. And we need to enlist the support of our allies – friends, relatives, colleagues and organizations— who can persuade others regarding the issue of LGBT equality.

To provide for the recognition of same-sex relationships – be it marriage, civil unions or domestic partners – we must first repeal the 2004 Michigan Constitutional Amendment. This will take time, money and a great deal of resources. But time and progress is on our side. We need to be thoughtful, thorough and purposeful in our campaign in order to make this a reality.