Michigan Marriage Equality

MPRN

  There were celebrations in four Michigan counties where a year ago same-sex couples crowded into courthouses to get married. That was right after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

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At the state Capitol in Lansing, Democrats have called for a new statewide vote on Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. It was approved by voters in 2004.

Democrats rolled out a package of legislation that would also repeal state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples. One would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Another would specifically allow gay and lesbian couples to jointly file state tax returns. 

Legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBT couples or anyone else based on moral or religious grounds is headed to the floor of the state House.

More than 300 gay and lesbian couples in Michigan are legally married now that Governor Rick Snyder has decided not to contest a court order. It says the state has to recognize the marriages that took place last spring.

But, the state will continue to defend the same-sex marriage ban in a case before the US Supreme Court.

It was Snyder’s call whether the state would appeal after a federal judge ruled that more than 300 same-sex couples are legally married and told the state to treat them as married.

The Ann Arbor city council unanimously passed a resolution at its Monday meeting to take sides in the ongoing fight over the legality of same sex marriage. The council voted to be included in the municipalities officially supporting the case of the Hazel Park couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. The two are suing for legal marriage to receive joint custody of their four children. Michigan's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional by a Detroit court and then was upheld by a higher court. DeBoer and Rowse have appealed their case to the Supreme Court. The ruling will affect the legality of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. According to MLive the case will go before the Supreme Court sometime in June.

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Ruling takes effect in 21 days, unless a higher court overturns the decision.

A federal judge says Michigan must recognize the marriages of 300 gay and lesbian couples that were performed last March. They were all married the day after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but before an appeals court put the order on hold.  Judge Mark Goldsmith says the marriages were legal and must be recognized by the state. His order takes effect in 21 days.

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Members of Washtenaw County's LGBT community disheartened by court's decision.

Supporters of a religious freedom bill in the state Legislature are pushing back against recent criticism. The legislation is meant to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

Opponents of House Bill 5958 say it would make it easier for people and businesses to discriminate. For example, they claim emergency medical workers could legally refuse to treat LGBT people.

Washtenaw County's First Same Sex Marriage
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

In courtrooms from Cincinnati to Detroit the issue of marriage equality is being decided.  Still, it is likely that the U-S Supreme Court will have the final say.  No matter the decisions along the way, Washtenaw County will be prepared.


Jake Neher

Judge hears arguments over recognizing 300 same-sex marriages in Michigan

Some 300 same-sex couples in Michigan are waiting to hear whether a federal judge will force the state to recognize their marriages. Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments on Thursday from attorneys for the state and for the same-sex couples.

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking a federal appeals court to uphold the state's 2004 voter-approved gay marriage ban. 

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gay couple trying to force state to recognize their marriage, "for our 13 kids"

The ACLU of Michigan is suing the state to force it to recognize the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who got married last month.

Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer are one of eight couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

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The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to force the state of Michigan to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed in March.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of couples who say their constitutional rights are being violated by Gov. Rick Snyder. He won't recognize the marriages for the purpose of benefits until federal courts decide the status of Michigan's ban on gay marriage. 

Jay Kaplan is staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project.  Kaplan says the Governor is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Washtenaw County's First Same Sex Marriage
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor City Council is set to ask state officials to drop appeals to the court ruling that briefly allowed same-sex marriages to take place.  Council tonight will consider a resolution urging Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to suspend efforts to contest Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling.  

Kurt Lowenstein
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Schuette asks for fast action marriage case

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to put the legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage on a fast track. Schuette is defending Michigan’s ban.

Schuette’s filed a motion with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to skip a hearing before a three judge panel and go directly to the entire 15-judge court. That could shave months, maybe as much as a year, off the appeals process. Schuette says the question needs to settled regardless of who wins in the end. 

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution asking the state to withdraw its appeal of the federal court ruling that says Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The vote was six to one, with  Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voting "no", arguing that the issue should be allowed to finish its journey through the court system.

The resolution will be forwarded to Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

City Council also approved improvements at two city parks requested by council members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department is looking for information related to an assault at Ypsilanti Township's Roundtree Apartments linked to recent same-sex marriages.  The attack took place Monday at around 6 PM.

The vicitim is in her late 20's and says she was punched in the face, knocked unconscious, then woke to being kicked in the torso.  She believes three males were involved in the attack.  The woman says the incident began with one of the men questioning if she was on the news because of her recent marriage.

One of the suspects is described as a white male, mid 20’s, 5’10 to 5'11 tall, heavy set, with a low or husky voice. The other suspects couldn't be identified.

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Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council is poised to send a message to the state on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Council Tuesday night will consider a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to withdraw their appeal of a federal judge's ruling that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

 If adopted, copies of the resolution will be sent to the offices of the Governor and Attorney General.

Ypsilanti City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, One S. Huron St., downtown. 

Gay Marriage
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has extended federal recognition to the Michigan marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold.

Holder's action on Friday enables the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the couples. It came two days after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan won't recognize the marriages performed last weekend. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the gay marriage ban the day before.

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Congressional Democrats ask Holder to recognize MI gay marriages
Rick Pluta

Some congressional Democrats are putting pressure on Michigan to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend. They sent a letter today asking US Attorney General Eric Holder to grant federal recognition of the marriages.

Gay Marriage
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

An Ann Arbor woman is devastated and questioning why she should stay in the state now that Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan won't recognize her marriage that took place last weekend.  

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan won't recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend.

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the sooner the US Supreme Court settles the question of whether same-sex marriage bans are constitutional, the better. 

UPDATE 4:52 PM Rick Pluta is reporting that no decision was reached in today's hearing.  The trial is likely to go to the Supreme Court which is not likely to decide another same-sex marriage case before its next session. Attorneys seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban say holding up recognition of same-sex marriages hurts families with children. 

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