LGBT rights lawyer Dana Nessel running for Michigan attorney general

A lawyer who helped win a battle to strike down Michigan's gay marriage ban is running for state attorney general.

Democrat Dana Nessel announced her campaign Tuesday in Ann Arbor.

Surrounded by her wife, sons, relatives, and supporters, Nessel was the first to announce her candidacy for Attorney General for the state of Michigan.

"I am running for Michigan Attorney General," Nessel said. " The office of the Michigan Attorney General has lost its way."

The former Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor is now in private practice and is best known for winning Michigan's same-sex marriage and adoption case against current Attorney General Bill Schuette. She then then took the case of April and Jayne Deboer-Rowse all the way to the Supreme Court, paving the way to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the United Sates.

Nessel says as Attorney General, she'll continue her commitment to civil rights

"Under my authority the state of Michigan will not tolerate hate crimes and will not tolerate persecution of any kind against Muslims, African Americans, LGBTQ community, or minorities of any kind," she said.

Most recently, Nessel founded Fair Michigan in Wayne County to prosecute crimes against the LGBTQ community. It has a 100 percent conviction rate.

On Tuesday, she promised to shut down Enbridge Line 5, set up an auto insurance fraud division to combat Michigan's sky high insurance rates, and fight for the protection of seniors, law enforcement, women's access to healthcare, as well as the legalization of marijuana.

"With thousands of opioid overdoses taking place in our state, how much longer can we afford to pretend that marijuana is a worthy target of Michigan's war against drugs? I expect recreational use of marijuana to be legal by the time I take office and we need an Attorney General who will truly respect the will of the people," Nessel said.

She's the first to declare her intention to run. Pat Miles, the former U.S. attorney in Grand Rapids, is signaling he will seek the Democratic nomination, saying Tuesday to "stay tuned." State Rep. Tim Greimel also is considering a run.

Second-term Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette can't run again due to term limits and is expected to enter the governor's race. On the Republican side, possible candidates include State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker and Speaker of the House Tom Leonard.

Nessel was asked if she thought she might be pigeon-holed in as the LGBTQ candidate. She said she's fighting for everyone.

"I spent half of my career working as an assistant prosecutor where I handled all kinds of matters. I handled homicides, and CSC cases, arsons. YOu kname it, I handled it. I think i have the depth and breadth of experience for this job and yes, i feel like i'm going to work very hard on behalf of the LGBTQ communitues but I"m going to work hard for all kinds of communities," Nessel said.

Each party will chose its candidate for Attorney General at its state convention next August.


Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.