Same-Sex Marriage Licenses To Remain On Hold In Michigan

Mar 25, 2014

UPDATED 9:25pm There will be no more same-sex marriage licenses issued in Michigan as litigation works its way through the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court said Tuesday it will not lift its order for a stay. But it did agree to an expedited schedule to hear the case. This casts continued doubt on the legal status of more than 300 marriages of gay and lesbian couples that took place over the weekend. 

Credit Elenah Neshcuet/Flickr

Four county clerks opened their doors over the weekend to issue marriage licenses before the practice was stopped by the Sixth Circuit.

Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum says he’d like to start issuing marriage licenses again.

“Many of the people who came to my office on Saturday were people who had been living together for years or decades,” he says. “It was long overdue that those marriages be recognized.”

The state says it’s best to preserve the status quo and not allow same-sex marriages until the U.S. Supreme Court settles the question.

“I’m going to let the United States Supreme Court make the final decision,” says Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “2.7 million residents of Michigan made a decision, and voted for that marriage amendment (banning same-sex marriage). And I think it should stand and I’m going to respect that. Now, if the Supreme Court makes a different decision, I’ll honor that.”

Schuette says the state’s ban on same-sex marriage should continue while lawyers debate its constitutionality.

“Bill Schuette and Governor Snyder know they are hurting people. They know the people that are being hurt,” says Emily Dievendorf with Equality Michigan. She says it’s time to let more marriages go forward. Attorneys trying to overturn the ban say every day it hurts families and kids in foster care who might be adopted by gay and lesbian couples.