Michigan's Democratic candidate for governor announced his running mate Thursday, choosing a former lawmaker who has championed women's rights and marriage equality.
Mark Schauer, a former congressman who is running against incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in the 2014 election, picked Lisa Brown to be his lieutenant governor. Currently the Oakland County Clerk, Brown previously served two terms as a Democrat in the state House of Representatives.
“Lisa Brown is a proven leader who’s always been a tough fighter for the middle class,” Schauer said in a statement. "Lisa shares my values and priorities for making education our top economic priority, and working to make Michigan’s economy fairer for the middle class."
Oakland is a middle- and upper-class county just north of Detroit. According to the Detroit Free Press, Brown is the first Democrat to hold the clerk's post in decades.
Last month, Brown testified in a federal trial challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage. A defendant in the case, she said that clerks received a memo from state Attorney General Bill Schuette telling them not to issue licenses to gay couples even if the ban was struck down. In her testimony, Brown said she would follow a judge's orders, not Schuette's.
After a judge overturned the gay marriage ban, Brown and three other county clerks in the state opened the following day, a Saturday morning, in order to issue licenses and perform marriages for 300 couples before an appeals court suspended same-sex marriage indefinitely. Snyder has said the state will not recognize the gay marriages performed last month.
Brown received attention in 2012 when the Republican-controlled House worked to pass controversial anti-abortion legislation. As she spoke to oppose the bill on the House floor, Brown used the word "vagina," and was then banned from speaking the following day. To protest being silenced, she appeared in a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" on the Capitol steps.
"I'd love to know what I said that was offensive," Brown told The Huffington Post at the time. "It was an anti-choice bill regarding abortion, which obviously involves a vagina, so, you know, I don't know what word I'm supposed to use otherwise."
Republicans said it was not the word specifically that got her banned, but disruptive behavior in general.
Brown lives in West Bloomfield and was born in Detroit, according to the Detroit News. She received an undergraduate degree in psychology at Michigan State University and studied law at he Detroit College of Law.