Michigan puts stay on gay marriage decision

Sam Scorzo Contributor
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The current marriage saga in Michigan opened on Friday when U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman overruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriages by calling it unconstitutional.

Right after the judge deemed it unconstitutional, hundreds of same-sex couples high tailed it to courts to obtain marriage licenses and ceremonies. Michigan counties Muskegon, Ingham, Oakland and Washtenaw even issued the marriages on Saturday, which was a special privilege, according to the Detroit Free Press.

However, it didn’t take long, roughly 24 hours, before the appeals court recognized that ruling the law unconstitutional wasn’t the most clear-cut constitutional decision ever made, especially seeing as the judge was virtually ignoring the fact that the ban had been approved by approximately 60 percent of Michigan voters back in 2004.

On Saturday, the court placed an emergency stay over the decision — immobilizing the same-sex couples’ mad rush to the altar.

This leads us to Tuesday. A decision needed to be made: allow the marriages to continue or cement the stay until the constitutionality of the ban is finally decided. After a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals favored the state and kept the stay.

Now the 299 weddings and the issue of 321 marriage licenses that the very short-lived uplift allowed are under scrutiny. There is no assurance that these marriages will be recognized by the state.

The legitimacy of these marriages, despite threats of lawsuits from interest groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as the standards for future marriages in the state, are pending until they can be taken to a higher court.

Freidman’s controversial Friday ruling was in favor of the plaintiffs, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse.

The ban was brought up in their case against the state for not extending the privilege of marriage to same-sex couples. They want official recognition of their marriages, specifically to co-adopt their three children.

“Obviously we would have loved to have the stay lifted and all same-sex couples be able to marry if they wish to do so,” Dana Nessel, the attorney for DeBoer and Rowse told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m hopeful that this case will be resolved as quickly as possible … I think it’s pretty clear that our case or another case will end up before the Supreme Court sooner than later.”