Government, Human Resources, and Law

Gay marriages will not be recognized by state

March 27, 2014
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Gay marriages will not be recognized by state
Connie Thacker. Courtesy Miller Johnson

Gov. Rick Snyder said yesterday that the same-sex marriages performed on Saturday will not be recognized by the state of Michigan.

"Suspended" rights

“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 Friedman’s ruling and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ temporary stay of that ruling,” Snyder said.

“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.”

Federal recognition

Today, Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and Reps. John Dingell, Sander Levin, Gary Peters and Dan Kildee submitted a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to recognize the marriages at the federal level.

Utah case

In a similar legal situation in Utah, Holder previously announced that the government will recognize marriages performed in that state.

“I suspect that, like Utah, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will uphold the marriages that occurred in Michigan — as he announced on January 10 that he would uphold the marriages that occurred in Utah between December 20, 2013 and January 6,” said Connie Thacker, an attorney at Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids.

Thacker also expects that the Michigan appeal will likely be fast-tracked, just as it was in the Utah case.

State defense

It’s been reported that Michigan spent $40,000 on experts to defend the gay-marriage ban, which was found to be unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman earlier this month.

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