300 Newly Married Same-Sex Couples In Legal Limbo

Mar 24, 2014

More than 300 newly married same-sex couples in Michigan are wondering how their legal status will play out this week. On Saturday, four county clerks issued marriage licenses after a federal judge in Detroit struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. But now, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily reinstated the ban at least until Wednesday.

Credit Elenah Neshcuet/Flickr

Jean Dukarski and her spouse Kathy Leacock were among those who got married over the weekend. Dukarski says they can wait a little longer to see what happens.

“I don’t care. We have a piece of paper.  It’s signed. It’s got that seal on it,” she laughs. “I didn’t realize how important it was.” 

Leacock says, even with the stay, the couple is still further ahead than they were before the court decisions.

“During that period of limbo, the federal government still recognizes our marriage even if the state doesn’t,” she says. “So we just have to wait for Michigan.” 

That’s because the federal government now recognizes legally performed same-sex marriages, regardless of where the couple lives.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asked for the stay while the case is being appealed. The appeals court drama is playing out as Schuette embarks on a tour of the state today (Monday) to announce his bid for reelection.

Lawyers challenging the Michigan Marriage Amendment have until noon Tuesday to file their arguments on why a stay should be lifted by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.