Friday, March 21, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan Ban On Marriage Equality!

By now it has become routine, but today yet another federal judge, this time in Michigan, struck down a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, saying that it violates the United States Constitution. Victory in Michigan was especially sweet for LGBT advocates because the judge actually insisted that a trial of the facts occur, the first time this has happened since openly gay judge Vaughn Walker insisted on a trial of the facts in the 2009 federal lawsuit against California's Proposition 8.
Michigan's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge said Friday as he struck down a law that was widely embraced by voters a decade ago — the latest in a recent series of decisions overturning similar laws across the country.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman announced his ruling after a rare two-week trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.
There was no indication that the judge was suspending his decision. Attorney General Bill Schuette said he was immediately filing a request with a federal appeals court to suspend Friedman's decision and prevent same-sex couples from immediately marrying. The decision was released shortly after 5 p.m., when most county clerk offices in Michigan were closed. Clerks issue marriage licenses.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same-sex marriage. Since December, bans on gay marriage have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.
Two Detroit-area nurses, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, want to get married, but the original purpose of their 2012 lawsuit was to overturn Michigan's ban on joint adoptions by same-sex couples.
The case is DeBoer v. Snyder. Freedom To Marry released the following press statement:
“The discriminatory ban is untrue to Michigan’s – and America’s – values, and the judge was right to strike it down. It’s time that all committed couples in Michigan be treated with respect and dignity under the law, fully able to share in the freedom to marry and the responsibilities and protections marriage brings. Today’s win comes after a full trial -- complete with prosecutors and defendants, witness cross-examinations, and testimony from family experts on the well-being of children -- which showed that opponents have nothing more than the same bogus claims they have recycled for decades. They were simply unable to provide a single legitimate reason why committed same-sex couples should be excluded from marriage. Michigan, like all of America, is ready for the freedom to marry.” 
Michigan’s DeBoer v. Snyder is only the third full trial on the freedom to marry in history, following trials in Hawaii and California. Wolfson served as co-counsel in Hawaii’s Baehr v. Miike, the first-ever trial on the freedom to marry and the first case in the world to win a ruling in favor of the freedom to marry. 
54% of Michigan residents support the freedom to marry, according to a 2014 Michigan State University poll.

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