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Michigan Couples Rush County Clerks Offices For Marriage Licenses (Updated)

Jim Burroway

March 22nd, 2014

Couples line up in Ann Arbor for a shot at sixty marriage licenses to be issued today by the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office. (Photo: Steve Friess)


Marsha Caspar, 52, and Glenna DeJong, 53.

News reports are crediting a Lansing couple, Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 52, as the first same-sex couple to marry in Michigan this morning after a Federal judge struck down Michigan’s Marriage Amendment (MMA) as unconstitutional late yesterday afternoon. They were married, after twenty-seven years together, shortly after the Ingham County Clerk’s office opened at 8:00 a.m. and issued them a license.

Ingham County was one of a handful of Michigan to open for special hours today specifically to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The other counties where clerks have opened today for special hours included Washtenaw (Ann Arbor), Muskegon (Muskegon, on Lake Michigan) and Oakland (Pontiac).

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has already filed a notice that he was appealing the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he filed a separate request to the Sixth Circuit  to stay the lower court’s ruling. The Sixth Circuit has yet to act on the request.

Update: From the Detroit Free Press:

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will not act over the weekend on a stay requested by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the gay marriage case, the court said in an order posted today.

The court has given the plaintiffs in the case, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, until Tuesday to file a response to Schuette’s request for a stay of U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s Friday order declaring Michigan’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

More than two hundred couples were able to marry in the four counties which opened their offices today. This notice from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals indicates that thousands more will be able to marry beginning on Monday when County Clerks Offices open statewide.

Update: The Sixth Circuit late Saturday issued a temporary stay until Wednesday. Again, from the Detroit Free Press:

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, after first signaling it would not intervene in Michigan’s gay marriage case until Tuesday, posted a new order late Saturday imposing a stay in the case until Wednesday. …

“To allow a more reasoned consideration of the motion to stay, it is ordered that the district court judgment is temporarily stayed until Wednesday,” the 6th Circuit said in an order late Saturday.

About 323 marriage licenses had been issued in four Michigan counties before the Sixth Circuit issued its stay.



March 22nd, 2014 | LINK

From the Washington Post:

“Like other federal judges in Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah who have struck state bans, Friedman relied on two Supreme Court precedents: Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state bans on interracial marriage in 1969, and last June’s U.S. v. Windsor, which overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act withholding federal benefits from same-sex couples married in states where such unions are legal.

Unlike those judges, Friedman conducted a trial. In his 31-page decision, he said he gave great weight to studies presented by lawyers for the plaintiffs, lesbian couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who have been together for eight years and have three children, whom they cannot jointly adopt.

Those studies, Friedman said, showed there was no discernible difference in parenting competence between gay couples and heterosexual ones.

By contrast, Friedman was scornful of a state witness, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus. Friedman said Regnerus’s study — which suggested children of those in same-sex relationships fared poorly — was shoddy and intended to please the anti-gay activists who had funded it.

“The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged,” Friedman wrote.”

We knew how ridiculous the Regnerus study was already, but thanks for putting it on the record, Your Honor.

March 22nd, 2014 | LINK Stay ordered, sadly.

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