U.S. Supreme Court: Michigan files response brief in appeal over same-sex marriage ban

Nov 25, 2014

Michigan has filed its response with the US Supreme Court to the legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state is asking the court to take the case, and uphold the US 6th Circuit Court’s decision that voters and legislators – not judges -- should decide the question.

“This case comes down to two words: who decides,” is the opening to the state’s brief. “The history of our democracy demonstrates the wisdom of allowing the people to decide important

issues at the ballot box, rather than ceding those decisions to unelected judges.”

Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette – both Republicans -- say the decision belongs with voters, who opted 10 years ago to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions by amending the Michigan Constitution.

Schuette’s brief says if there’s any debate on the matter, then courts have to assume voters acted rationally when they banned same-sex marriage. Schuette relies heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision on an affirmative action case from Michigan. The majority opinion held that courts should give a great deal of deference to laws passed by ballot questions.

A lesbian couple from Hazel Park who want to jointly adopt the children they’re raising together say the ban violates their constitutional rights – and it’s not something that should be decided by elections. That was also the decision last March by a federal judge in Detroit, that was struck down by the 6th Circuit.

But, both sides agree they want the US Supreme Court to make the final decision on the question. The state filed its response 24 days ahead of the deadline in an effort to get the case on the court’s docket during the current session. The justices will meet in January and could decide then whether to put the case on their spring calendar.