Only one day after the historic decision by U. S District Judge Bernard Friedman which struck down Michigan’s 2004 voter approved same-sex marriage ban, the first gay and lesbian couples were officially permitted to be granted marriage licenses.
Two women, Glenna DeJong, 53 and Marsha Caspar, 51 of Lansing were the first same sex couple to marry in Michigan on Saturday. The couple who have been together for nearly 30 years, were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.
"I figured in my lifetime it would happen," Caspar said. "But now, when it happens now, it's just overwhelming. I still can't believe it. I don't think it's hit me yet."
Judge Friedman, a Regan appointee, stated that the ban “impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest.”
Immediately after Fridays ruling, Attorney General Bill Schuette requested a stay on the decision pending an appeal. Claiming a stay would ‘serve the public interest by preserving the status quo ... while preventing irreparable injury to the state and its citizens.” Schuette is hoping the U.S Supreme Court will step in to halt further same-sex marriages from taking place.
Early on Saturday March 22nd the uncertainty of whether or not a stay would eventually be granted, Michigan same-sex marriages were being conducted in at least four counties throughout the state. "We're trying to beat Bill Schuette to the punch," said Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation Pastor Bill Freeman, who has already officiated over nine weddings. "We want to get these weddings done while they're legal."
News soon came that the the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati had issued a temporary stay stating it needed more time to consider the state's appeal of the judge's ruling. The complexity of the issue now has created a similar situation that was found in California due to Proposition 8. If the appeals are allowed to go forth, the state would then have to decide if the marriages performed were still legal.
The Judges Friday decision stands as another breakdown against the ballot box and the attempts to allow the masses the right to define the rights of the minority. The ruling is the 14th consecutive court loss for those supporting same-sex marriage bans since the repeal by the United States Supreme Court of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act in June of 2013.