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04/19/2007


Michigan Governor Says State Won't Recognize Gay Marriages Performed Over Weekend: VIDEO

Snyder

Michigan will not recognize the hundreds of gay marriages performed over the weekend even though it sees them as "legal and valid", Governor Rick Snyder told reporters on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports:

"With respect to the marriages, we believe those are legal and valid marriages...The stay being issued makes it more complicated. Because of the stay, we won’t recognize the benefits of the marriage until there’s a removal of the stay... Hopefully we’ll be able to provide some clarity, at least from our perspective, relatively soon."

The ACLU said yesterday that it would sue if the state decided not to offer benefits to the gay couples married in Michigan over the weekend.

The Governor issued this statement:

“After comprehensive legal review of state law and all recent court rulings, we have concluded that same-sex couples were legally married at county clerk offices in the time period between U.S. District Judge Freidman’s ruling and the 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporary stay of that ruling.

“In accordance with the law, the U.S. Circuit Court’s stay has the effect of suspending the benefits of marriage until further court rulings are issued on this matter. The couples with certificates of marriage from Michigan courthouses last Saturday were legally married and the marriage was valid when entered into. Because the stay brings Michigan law on this issue back into effect, the rights tied to these marriages are suspended until the stay is lifted or Judge Friedman’s decision is upheld on appeal.”

In another conversation with reporters, Snyder was asked his personal views about marriage, and refused to say what they were.

"I'm not going to go back and rehash a sentence in one debate from four years ago. I've been focused on jobs, it's my main message, and I'm staying consistent with that."

Attorney General Bill Schuette refused to give his personal opinion either.

Watch two clips of the governor and attorney general with reporters, AFTER THE JUMP...

Schuette

Continue reading "Michigan Governor Says State Won't Recognize Gay Marriages Performed Over Weekend: VIDEO" »


Governor: Michigan to Hold Off on Recognizing Gay Marriages Performed Over Weekend

Approximately 300 gay couples married in Michigan on Saturday, one day after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. On Sunday, the Sixth Court Circuit of Appeals issued a temporary stay on the marriage ruling until Wednesday when an emergency appeal could be heard.

SnyderMichigan Governor Rick Snyder said late on Sunday that state agencies would wait to recognize the marriages that have been performed, the AP reports:

“We are extremely sensitive to feelings on this issue and are hoping for a swift resolution for all involved,” said Sara Wurfel, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder...

...“We are not saying that we aren’t or won’t recognize the marriages that happened on Saturday, but that we’re awaiting further court or legal direction on this complex, unusual situation,” Wurfel told The Associated Press in an email Sunday.

“Either way, this can’t be construed one way or another as not recognizing the validity of the same sex marriages.”

You may have missed this MICHIGAN info...
Michigan's Marriage Equality Ruling: A Summary and Analysis [tlrd]
Federal Appeals Court Suspends Gay Marriages in Michigan Until at Least Wednesday [tlrd]
Here is Joyful Video of the First Gay Marriages in Michigan: WATCH [tlrd]
First Gay Couple Marries in Ingham County, Michigan: PHOTO [tlrd]
At Least Four Michigan Counties to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples Today [tlrd]
Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Ban on Gay Marriage: VIDEO [tlrd)


Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Asks Federal Judge to Uphold Ban on Benefits for Gay Couples

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits for gay couples who work for state and local governments and asked a federal judge to uphold the ban in a motion filed on Friday, MLive reports:

SnyderThe motion asks Judge David Lawson to rule in favor of the state in a lawsuit filed by five same-sex couples. The motion argues that the 2011 law banning the benefits "eliminates local government programs that are irrational and unfair" and promotes "financially sound" local agencies.

It will save the government money, in other words, to discriminate against gays.

MLive adds that Lawson has already ruled against the fiscal responsibility argument in a preliminary injunction issued in June 2013:

"The only policy issue that the defendant has identified is the desire to save money. But a desire to save money cannot possibly be sufficiently important to require the court to abstain from deciding the constitutional issues raised by the plaintiffs. If it were, states could effectively insulate themselves from constitutional review by the federal courts of virtually any law by citing budgetary concerns," Lawson wrote.

The state's motion also cites a Michigan Court of Appeals case that called "absurd" and "ridiculous" a Michigan Civil Service Commission policy that would allow for state employees to share benefits with one other unrelated adult living in the same house.

"Eliminating policies that disfavor familial relationships and are 'absurd', 'unfair,' even 'ridiculous' is rational and related to legitimate state interests in promoting fair and reasonable local government policies," the state argued.

Previously...
Federal Judge Halts Michigan's Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits, Cites DOMA Ruling [tlrd]


Michigan Governor Rick Snyder 'Open' to Adding Gays and Lesbian's to State's Anti-Discrimination Law

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who is an expert dodger at questions on LGBT rights and has, in the past year refused to address the will of the people on anti-discrimination laws or marriage equality, said he would be open to addressing the former with the right partner, MLive reports:

SnyderThe Republican governor, sitting down with MLive last week for a year-end interview, said he is willing to participate in talks about the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act but does not plan to lead them.

"I'll wait for, most likely, a signal from the Legislature to say they're open to having that discussion," said Snyder, who generally avoids controversial social issues. "There is some openness likely there. I think the speaker has made some comments along those lines. I'm willing to have that dialogue, but I need a partner to have it with."

Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) has been talking "behind the scenes" about updating Michigan civil rights statutes to include anti-discrimination protections for gay residents but is reportedly concerned about religious exemptions:

"Should a devout religious person who owns a small business be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs and hire someone or provide services to someone who is leading a lifestyle that they cannot embrace because of their religious teachings?" [Bloger's spokesman] said in an email. "That, counter balanced with an individual's right to personal liberty and being able to live freely and openly, is where the struggle lies."

The conversation with Snyder came out after being asked about Michigan RNC Committeeman Dave Agema's most recent homophobic remarks, that gays falsely claim people with AIDS as their lovers in order to receive free health benefits, remarks that Snyder says are "discriminatory" and, according to MLive, have "no place in any political party."


Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Won't Take Stand on People Fired for Being Gay: 'That's a Hypothetical'

Check out the exchange Michigan Governor Rick Snyder had with reporters on Thursday when asked if someone can be fired for being gay or perceived as gay:

SnyderSnyder: Well again, in terms of people being fired for no good reason, again, that's always an issue, that shouldn't happen.

Reporter: Is being fired because you're gay or perceived as gay one of those issues?

Snyder: Again, you have issues where you want to see people have an opportunity to have a career.

Reporter: But when you say "no good reason," is being gay a good reason to be fired?

Snyder: Well again, that's a broad statement, so it'd depend on the particular facts of the situation. That's a hypothetical, that's very general in that context.

Reporter: People are being fired because they're gay though, that's not hypothetical. An employer can do that. That's not a hypothetical situation, that's a real situation...

Snyder: The question is how should government be involved in that process and how active, so again that's where I'm happy to work with the legislature as they're willing to look at those kind of issues.

Reporter: But you're not going to lead on that issue.

Snyder: At this point in time I've got a number of other things that I've had as priorities.

Snyder's a pro at evading questions on LGBT civil rights. You'll remember he was asked about marriage equality last May on the same day that legislation was introduced to repeal Michigan's constitututional ban on same-sex marriage:

Asked about his personal position on the issue, Snyder says he hasn’t gotten involved because he wants to focus on “jobs and kids.”


Federal Judge Halts Michigan's Ban On Domestic Partner Benefits, Cites DOMA Ruling

MichYesterday a federal judge in Michigan struck down a law signed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2011 that would have prevented domestic partners of state employees from receiving health-care benefits similar to those afforded to heterosexual spouses, the AP reports:

"U.S. District Judge David Lawson said plaintiffs who have lost benefits or been forced to buy expensive private health insurance have made a 'plausible claim' that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision came nearly a year after he heard arguments in the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

'It is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose – indeed, perhaps the sole purpose – of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. But that can never be a legitimate governmental purpose,' Lawson said as he ordered an injunction."

As the ACLU points out, the ruling out of Michigan is remarkable in that it is the first court decision to cite the Supreme Court's ruling that overturned section 3 of DOMA in Windsor v. United States:

"Judge Lawson recognized, as the Supreme Court did, that the Constitution forbids the government from passing laws with a motive to discriminate against gay people. This is the first federal court decision applying the Supreme Court's reasoning to protect same-sex couples from discrimination in other contexts."

The ruling comes just days after Michigan lawmakers introduced legislation to repeal the state's ban on same-sex marriage which passed in 2004. The ban is also currently under review by federal judge Bernard Friedman, who in March postponed his ruling on the constitutionality of the ban given the Supreme Court's impending consideration of both Prop. 8 and DOMA. Judge Friedman's ruling is still forthcoming.

UPDATE: BuzzFeed reports that the decision is a temporary injunction, in effect only temporarily halting the ban until the court reaches a final decision. However, in his injunction, Lawson noted that the plaintiffs challenging the ban "are likely to succeed."


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