New bills in the state House would add restrictions on abortions and protections for religious leaders who refuse to marry same-sex couples. But, as Jake Neher reports below, the future of the bills could be hampered by the representative who introduced them.
Now-former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) was expelled from the House last week after a sex-and-cover up scandal. She introduced the legislation just two days before her expulsion vote. House Bills 4851 and 4852 would ban abortions after 20 weeks except to save the mother’s life.
House Bill 4858 would add protections for religious leaders who refuse to perform marriages that violate their beliefs. Despite losing her seat, Gamrat’s name stays on the bills as the lead sponsor. “Nothing changes with those bills,” said Gideon D’Assandro, spokesperson for state House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant).
D’Assandro believes lawmakers will judge the bills based on their merit, despite having just voted to expel their sponsor. “I don’t think that that necessarily decides it,” he said. “Our members do a pretty good job of looking at the merits of every issue. And I’m sure that when the bills come up for discussion that they’ll be reading into the content and not the name at the top.” D’Assandro says the speaker has not reviewed the bills as to make a decision on whether to take them up.