Michigan has banned recognition of same-sex unions in any form since a 2004 popular vote added an amendment to the state constitution. Previously, a statute enacted in 1996 banned both the licensing of same-sex marriages and the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

On March 21, 2014, a decision of the U.S. District Court for Michigan's Eastern District ruled the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples unconstitutional. More than 300 same-sex couples married in Michigan the next day before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed enforcement of the district court decision until March 26, a stay it extended indefinitely on March 25.

Same-sex marriage Edit

Statute Edit

In June 1996, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 88-14 to ban same-sex marriage in the state, while the Michigan State Senate voted 31-2 in favor of the ban. Also in June, the Michigan House also approved, in a 74-28 vote, a bill banning recognition of out of state-same-sex marriages. The Michigan Senate also approved this bill.[1][2] Governor John Engler signed both bills into law.

Constitutional amendment Edit

In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment, Michigan Proposal 04-2, that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. It passed with 58.6% of the vote. The Michigan Supreme Court later ruled that public employers in Michigan could not grant domestic partnership benefits given the restrictions imposed by the amendment.[3]

DeBoer v. Snyder Edit

On January 23, 2012, a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit in federal district court, challenging the state's ban on adoption by same-sex couples seeking to jointly adopt their children.

In August 2012, Judge Bernard A. Friedman invited the couple to amend their suit to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage, "the underlying issue".[4] They did so on September 7.[5] On March 7, 2013, after hearing arguments in the case, DeBoer v. Snyder, Friedman announced that he would delay ruling pending the outcome of two same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.[6] On July 1, citing the recent Supreme Court decision in Windsor, he denied the state officials' motion to dismiss the suit.[7] Friedman held a trial from February 25 to March 7, 2014. On March 21, he ruled for the plaintiffs, ending Michigan's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples.[8] Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately filed an emergency motion requesting a stay of the ruling.[9]

Four of Michigan's 83 county clerks opened their offices on Saturday, March 22, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Barb Byrum of Ingham County, Nancy Waters of Muskegon County, Lisa Brown of Oakland County, and Lawrence Kestenbaum of Washtenaw County.[10][11] The four counties issued 323 marriage licenses that day.[12] That same day, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, citing the need for more time to fully consider the Attorney's General's request, temporarily stayed enforcement of Friedman's ruling until March 26.[13][14] On March 25, the Sixth Circuit stayed the ruling indefinitely.[15] On March 28, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will recognize the validity of same-sex marriages performed on March 22.[16]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. House OK's ban on gay marriages
  2. State Senate OK's gay marriage, sends bill to Engler
  3. Michigan domestic partnerships. Retrieved on October 23, 2013.
  4. Ferretti, Christine. "Judge tells couple to consider challenging state's gay marriage ban", Detroit News, August 29, 2012. Retrieved on September 7, 2012. 
  5. Ferretti, Christine. "Hazel Park women challenge Michigan's marriage amendment", Detroit News, September 7, 2012. Retrieved on September 7, 2012. 
  6. "No immediate ruling on Michigan's 2004 gay marriage ban", Associated Press, March 7, 2013. Retrieved on June 26, 2013. 
  7. Geidner, Chris. "Federal Judge In Michigan Allows Challenge To Marriage Ban To Go Forward", BuzzFeed, July 1, 2013. Retrieved on July 1, 2013. 
  8. "Federal judge strikes down Michigan's gay marriage ban", March 21, 2014. Retrieved on March 21, 2014. 
  9. "Michigan AG Schuette files for stay on gay marriage ruling, citing will of voters", March 21, 2014. 
  10. "3 Mich. counties already set to marry gay couples", USA Today, March 22, 2014. Retrieved on March 22, 2014. 
  11. "Michigan clerks marry gay couples after judge strikes down ban", Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2014. Retrieved on March 22, 2014. 
  12. "Ruling to strike down Michigan gay marriage ban put on hold", Reuters, March 22, 2014. Retrieved on March 22, 2014. 
  13. Appellate court reverses course, issues temporary stay on same-sex marriages until Wednesday. Detroit Free Press (March 22, 2014). Retrieved on March 22, 2014.
  14. Michigan gay marriages could fall into legal limbo. USA Today (March 22, 2014). Retrieved on March 23, 2014.
  15. Court indefinitely suspends overturn of gay marriage ban in Michigan. Daily News (March 25, 2014). Retrieved on March 30, 2014.
  16. Attorney General Eric Holder: Federal government will recognize same-sex marriages in Michigan

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Same-sex unions in the United States

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