Matt DePerno stated he agreed with the definition of marriage as “a God-ordained, sacred and legal union of one man and one woman” that the government does not have the “authority to alter.”
In his responses to a 2022 candidate questionnaire from a voter guide website produced by the right-wing Christian organization American Family Association Action, Matt DePerno, the Republican nominee for attorney general of Michigan, indicated that he agrees with the statement "Marriage is a God-ordained, sacred and legal union of one man and one woman. No government has the authority to alter this definition."
DePerno is running to unseat Michigan's Democratic incumbent attorney general, Dana Nessel. The American Independent Foundation reached out to the DePerno campaign regarding his answers in the questionnaire, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
Marriage equality has been legally recognized across the country since the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. However, no federal legislation protects marriage equality, and as the Supreme Court demonstrated in overturning Roe v. Wade's assertion of a constitutional right to abortion in June, it could reverse Obergefell as well.
When the court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion, "Justices should reconsider all of this court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell."
Many organizations have raised concerns about the security of LGBTQ rights ever since, including in Michigan. If Obergefell were reconsidered or reversed, several states' laws or regulations governing marriage could come into effect. Michigan still has laws on its books that would punish specific sexual acts and restrict marriage to heterosexual couples.
Immediately following the Dobbs decision, Nessel tweeted: "Been predicting this for years. SCOTUS & the Republicans are coming next for your birth control, the sexual positions you can engage in with another consenting adult (in Michigan-missionary only) & your same-sex marriage.
"Still not interested in the November elections?"
DePerno tweeted in response: "My opponent wants to run a campaign of fear. Nobody is coming after birth control or sexual positions. It is an absurd statement and demonstrates she is not a serious person, unfit for office, and puts politics over the Constitution. She is drunk on power."
However, in September, DePerno was recorded suggesting that he thought emergency contraception could be regulated or banned by the state.
In February, the Detroit Free Press reported that in a debate among GOP candidates for attorney general, DePerno said that privacy issues, such as those decided in Roe and Griswold, should be a "states' rights issue."
Bloomberg noted after the Dobbs decision that in 2014, as a private attorney, Nessel participated in a Michigan Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. Appeal in that case, DeBoer v. Snyder, were consolidated with other cases and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court alongside Obergefell v. Hodges. The court upheld the ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder that found same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional in Michigan.
Nessel has outraised DePerno in campaign donations by more than $1 million. However, a poll conducted by Mitchell Research and Communications on Oct. 19 among likely voters in Michigan found that Nessel leads DePerno by only three points, 46%-43%.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.