Gay Marriages Performed after Ruling Legal, but Michigan Won’t Recognize Them

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state won’t recognize the legal marriages because of a stay putting them on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court can decide if Michigan's voter-backed ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

Gov. Rick Snyder sidestepped questions about his own views about same-sex marriage at a news conference Wednesday. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP)
Gov. Rick Snyder sidestepped questions about his own views about same-sex marriage at a news conference Wednesday. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP)

About 300 gay couples who tied the knot during the 24-hour period that same-sex marriage was allowed in Michigan are legally married, but Michigan won’t immediately recognize their marriages because a stay has been placed on the ruling declaring the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday.

“With respect to the marriages,we believe those are legal and valid marriages,” Snyder said after consulting with attorneys, according to a Detroit Free Press report. “The stay issued makes it more complicated. Because of the stay, we won’t recognize the benefits of the marriage until there’s a removal of the stay.”

Snyder told reporters Wednesday morning that he intended to seek legal advice to sort out the legal status of gay marriages performed during the brief window that allowed couples to tie the knot.

The decision that the marriages won’t be recognized could complicate adoptions, which was the basis of the lawsuit prompting the ruling filed by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park who have been together for a decade, but were prohibited from jointly adopting children because they didn’t have a legal marriage.

Newly married gay couples’ ability to file joint income tax returns, at least in Michigan, also is unclear.

After U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman overturned Michigan’s voter-backed ban on gay marriage in a historic ruling Friday, about 300 couples exchanged vows in Oakland, Washtenaw and Muskegon counties, after county clerks opened their offices and granted licenses to gay couples.

Their marriages were thrown into a state of legal limbo Saturday when the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request for an emergency stay pending an appeal of the ruling.Schuette argued the ruling violated the will of Michigan voters who, in 2004, voted by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The 6th Circuit extended its stay Tuesday, handing the issue over to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.

Snyder Sidesteps Questions About Views

At the news conference Wednesday morning, Snyder would not answer questions about his own views on same-sex marriage and said instead that he wants to focus on the economy and creating more jobs, the Free Press said.

Marriage equality proponents say it’s an economic issue young people and highly educated people support and are more likely to live in areas where same-sex marriage is legal.

Among those supporting same-sex marriage are 61 percent of Republican-leaning voters under age 30, according to a Pew Research poll taken earlier this month.

Public support is increasing for same-sex marriage, the poll found, but the gap between support between young and old voters is nowhere more striking than among Republicans. Only 27 percent of Republicans age 50 and older support same-sex marriage, the nonpartisan public research institute said.

More than 54 percent of Americans now support allowing gay couples to marry, an all-time high in Pew Research surveys. That includes 69 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents, compared with 39 percent of Republicans and Repbulcian leaners.

cookiepro2 March 29, 2014 at 12:15 PM
One aspect that was brought up in articles I was reading were the benefits of couple-dom (using this term instead of marriage) to society. Two people can live cheaper together than one. One can provide a safety net for the other, lessening bankruptcy and the need for gov't assistance. As the couple age, each can make up for each other's age-related deficits, increasing the length of time living in their own home, and lessening the need for nursing home care. It is no wonder then that marriage (even without the procreative aspect) is encouraged in society. Why not let the State give its blessing (so to speak, with a license) to the relatively small gay population, as well?
Lee Jacobsen March 29, 2014 at 05:54 PM
Dave, regarding procreation, guilty as charged, my only defense is the lateness of the hour.......my mind was thinking that it takes a male and a female couple to procreate, and traditionally, this union is sealed via marriage. Gays can't procreate as a couple, unless I was asleep in biology class. Unwed mothers abound in our society, and especially at a higher percentage among some of the minorities, predominantly black. Cookie's point of couples living together to save and increase the safety net is a good one, and the govt should give the thumbs up to civil unions for convenience and issue licenses to that effect. If there are ways to save on taxes , folk will do it. The result will be very few single households, and back to the ere of multiple generation family support, with the tax savings being the binder that holds it all together...
cookiepro2 March 29, 2014 at 07:21 PM
Saw an article on Statistics Canada (like our Census Bureau) on data gathered 2010, five years after same sex marriage was legalized. Same sex marriages increased by 181.5% while heterosexual marriages increased by 2.9%. Still, same sex couples accounted for only .8% of all couples. Furthermore, for those concerned about the impact on "traditional families", here's more: "Slightly more same-sex couples were male (54.5 per cent) than female (45.5 per cent). Same-sex couples were also younger than opposite-sex couples, with one-quarter of homosexual couples under 34 years of age and only 6.2 per cent over the age of 65. Only 17.5 per cent of heterosexual couples were under 34 years of age, while 17.8 per cent of couples were over 65. Far fewer same-sex couples had children at home. Only 9.4 per cent of same-sex couples had at least one child at home while 47.2 per cent of heterosexual couples had families. Lesbians were almost five times more likely to have a child at home than gay males. Although the 2011 Census paints a more diverse image of the Canadian family, the country’s family portrait still remains a married mother and father and their two children."
cookiepro2 March 29, 2014 at 07:30 PM
Here's a link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/19/canada-marriage-census-2011_n_1896155.html I now think it is better to go with "marriage" route with gay couples rather than creating some kind of "civil union". Because there are already substantial hurdles in place to dissolving marriage, it is not something to be taken lightly, and that should be the same regardless of gender.
Daffy Noodnicks March 29, 2014 at 11:37 PM
Here's a funny idea: perhaps gay people want to get married for exactly the same reasons as everyone else. I would venture a guess that most would not see it as a tax dodge. I certainly didn't when I was fortunate enough that Mrs. Noodnicks said yes to me.


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