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Michigan Could Get Same-Sex Marriage on Wednesday; Hundreds Poised to Wed

Back in September 2012 we posted about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, who expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment. In March Federal Judge Bernard Friedman stayed his decision in the matter until after the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA. Then in July he said the couple could proceed with their case.

DeboerThis Wednesday, Friedman is set to issue a ruling which could make same-sex marriage legal in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reports:

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is expected to issue a ruling, perhaps that afternoon, on whether Michigan’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. He also may decide whether the state’s ban on same-sex adoption should be tossed.

Should he lift the ban on same-sex marriage and decline to issue a stay while it’s being appealed, same-sex marriage would be legal in Michigan until a higher court overturned it.

Dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of same-sex couples are preparing to tie the knot Wednesday afternoon, according to organizers in the gay and lesbian communities.

Ingham and Washtenaw counties are among those offering to waive waiting times for marriage licenses, and 44 clergy members statewide will be on call to perform ceremonies, according to Randy Block of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, who has compiled a list of available county clerks and clergy.

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  1. We can be optimistic about Judge Friedman lifting the ban on same-sex marriage but declining a stay while the state appeals to higher courts is unlikely.

    Posted by: Andy Towlette | Oct 14, 2013 1:46:18 PM

  2. My husband and I are hoping Kalamazoo County will waive the waiting period too, so we can get a license (two years after our wedding ceremony), should equality come to MI.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 14, 2013 1:47:40 PM

  3. Que the line of lesbians... their always first! hehehe : )
    My boyfriend works from home (in Nebraska) for an awesome company out of Ann Arbor, MI. If this happens a move might be in order... Grad school would be pricy in Ann Arbor though.

    Posted by: Kurtis Edwards | Oct 14, 2013 2:15:48 PM

  4. There's no logical reason to institute a stay. Nobody is hurt by marriage equality and the absence of marriage equality is catastrophic for countless people. In post-SCOTUS-DOMA-decision America, why would there be a stay, especially when everyone knows it's delaying the inevitable?

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Oct 14, 2013 2:37:09 PM

  5. How sweet it would be for marriage and adoption to be legal in Michigan. Hoping for the best!

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Oct 14, 2013 2:41:51 PM

  6. Since Illinois is taking so damn long we may have to pop over to our cottage in Michigan for a little nuptial ceremony. Could be back in the City for an old fashioned married couple dinner :)

    Posted by: UrbanMike | Oct 14, 2013 2:58:31 PM

  7. Detroit would make a lovely honeymoon destination.

    Posted by: KO | Oct 14, 2013 3:22:31 PM

  8. Why do the ugly bulldykes always stand in front to do press? It makes the lg community look pretty disgusting...

    I dont blame people for not wanting to give marriage to that....

    Posted by: david | Oct 14, 2013 4:15:36 PM

  9. Why do the ugly bulldykes always stand in front to do press? It makes the lg community look pretty disgusting...

    I dont blame people for not wanting to give marriage to that....

    Posted by: david | Oct 14, 2013 4:15:36 PM

  10. @David
    If ugly people were forbidden to marry, there'd be a lot more bastards in the world.

    Posted by: Rich | Oct 14, 2013 4:39:43 PM

  11. @David,

    Maybe the reason the couple you dismiss as "ugly bulldykes" are standing in the picture is that they're the couple who had the guts and persistence to get this case into the courts.

    Should marriage equality become legal in Michigan, we will all be in their debts--whether we live in Michigan or not. I'll be grateful for their effort and persistence. I won't lose any time mourning the fact that they aren't photogenic.

    Posted by: Clayton | Oct 14, 2013 5:12:14 PM

  12. It would be great to learn my neighbours over the border don't have to be second class any more.

    Posted by: Randy | Oct 14, 2013 5:44:06 PM

  13. There is no argument for a stay post the SCOTUS decision to deny a hearing to the Prop 8 case on the grounds there was no discernable injury to the those found therefore not to have standing as a result.

    If there is no particularised harm, there was no standing and there can be therefore no reason for a stay for that reason (of course a State defending its own laws is a slightly different matter).

    Post SCOTUS's DOMA ruling there are married couples (in all probability) in all 50 states. Windsor was married even though New York did not at that stage provide for same sex marriages (having married in Canada). There are same sex married couples in Michigan already - if there was a positive and unstayed ruling that number would increase but they already exist and would continue to do so. There are a number of states where people can get to which will then be recognised by the federal government.

    Lastly the case of California shows that it is entirely possible for marriage to be allowed then stoppoed (then started again). Though undesirable the sky will not fall in. Hence no logic for a stay. Even if that happened the couples that legally wed while allowed to do so would remain legally married and have federal recognition, which is no light matter. To coin a phrase from New Jersey, the balance of equities is completely reversed in a postDOMA world.

    Of course the Circuit of Appeals may think differently, but I hope not.

    Posted by: Craig Nelson | Oct 14, 2013 6:11:19 PM

  14. Republican appointed justices outnumber those appointed by democrats 2-to-1 on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, so an appeal to that court may not go in our favor despite the Supreme Court's recent rulings.
    The Sixth, however, is the most reversed circuit in the nation--outstripping even the 9th circuit.

    Posted by: woody | Oct 14, 2013 8:16:31 PM

  15. Yeah, the demographics aren't the best with the 6th Circuit, and also Judge Friedman is seen as a very conservative judge. But then again, I think this is such a clear cut case, that there's only one possible ruling that makes sense. We'll see. Even if it doesn't work out the way we want, April and Jayne are two awesome women who spent a lot of their time and money to fighting this marriage ban and deserve nothing but praise.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Oct 14, 2013 8:28:13 PM

  16. David, couples in love are never ugly - as every homophobe (myself included, until recently) learns to his surprise.

    There are two ways to view a potential favorable ruling in Michigan this week. One is that this brings equality to more couples who want to marry and adds by several million the number of Americans who live in a same-sex marriage state. That's the good news. The bad news? Another state gets marriage through "judicial activism" and this helps bolster groups like NOM - who have no other hope left except that the LGBT cause can now be made to seem like a bunch of far-left eccentrics who gets Daddy Judge to overrule the will of the people.

    Let's hope that whatever decision is made this week, it works to the long-term benefit of the LGBT community.

    Posted by: Mary | Oct 14, 2013 8:29:29 PM

  17. Saugatuck looks beautiful in pictures.

    Posted by: woody | Oct 14, 2013 9:28:50 PM

  18. "Why do the ugly bulldykes always stand in front to do press? It makes the lg community look pretty disgusting...

    I dont blame people for not wanting to give marriage to that....

    What are you, fourteen? What an utterly shallow git. Why don't you get in front of the cameras to fight for your rights?

    Posted by: RJP | Oct 14, 2013 10:51:59 PM

  19. Rulings based on the Constitution are not "judicial activism." They are what the Court is supposed to be doing. How NOM reacts is irrelevant; they've moved on to Russia, anyhow.

    @David: If you're so fine looking, we suggest you step in front of the cameras so we can admire your stunning physique. Just don't speak--you might show your true colors.

    Good luck, Michigan!

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 15, 2013 4:36:20 AM

  20. My partner and I have been together 4 years and have been planning a wedding. It'd be awesome to have it legal. :)
    Please no stay!!!!

    Posted by: Jessie | Oct 15, 2013 8:02:24 AM

  21. Dominoes are falling...

    Posted by: John | Oct 15, 2013 8:59:08 AM

  22. Brides are always beautiful. These ladies are no exception.

    If you disapprove, don't attend their wedding.

    Posted by: Lymis | Oct 15, 2013 10:34:45 AM

  23. Litigants need to be sympathetic and likeable not supermodels. This is a picture of a family, a couple that have made a go of their lives, are committed to one another and are bringing up children. In all of these things they are ideal.

    Posted by: Craig Nelson | Oct 16, 2013 7:30:11 AM

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