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.