Michigan won't recognize same-sex marriages - WNEM TV 5

Michigan won't recognize same-sex marriages

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DETROIT, MI (AP) -

Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan won't recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend.

The marriages were performed Saturday before a federal appeals court suspended a decision that overturned the state's ban on gay marriage.

Snyder's announcement Wednesday closes the door to certain benefits granted to Michigan married couples. The move comes after a day after an appeals court indefinitely stopped any additional same-sex marriages.

Snyder says the marriages were legal at the time but the stay means the ban now is back in effect.

Snyder issued this statement regarding the marriages performed on Saturday, March 22.

"After comprehensive legal review of state law and all recent court rulings, we have concluded that same-sex couples were legally married at county clerk offices in the time period between U.S. District Judge Freidman's ruling and the 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporary stay of that ruling. 

"In accordance with the law, the U.S. Circuit Court's stay has the effect of suspending the benefits of marriage until further court rulings are issued on this matter. The couples with certificates of marriage from Michigan courthouses last Saturday were legally married and the marriage was valid when entered into. Because the stay brings Michigan law on this issue back into effect, the rights tied to these marriages are suspended until the stay is lifted or Judge Friedman's decision is upheld on appeal."

The court is reviewing a decision by Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman, who struck down a 2004 constitutional amendment that says marriage is between a man and a woman.

It will take months for the appeals court to affirm or reject Friedman's opinion.

Meanwhile, supporters of same-sex marriage have rallied in front of the Genesee County courthouse in Flint, a day after an appeals court suspended a decision that strikes down Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

The Rev. Deane Oliva of the Unitarian Universalist Church had hoped to perform marriages at the courthouse this week. But that was before a federal appeals court ordered a temporary time-out Saturday and then extended it indefinitely Tuesday.

Thirty-three-year-old Erin Rockafellow of Grand Blanc carried a sign Wednesday saying, "Let love rule."

Deborah Baldwin tells The Flint Journal she's been on a "roller coaster" and thought she'd be married after a Detroit federal judge overturned the gay marriage ban. Genesee County wasn't among the four counties that issued about 300 licenses Saturday before the appeals court intervened.

Congressman Dan Kildee weighed in, saying the governor "Doubled down on ambivalence." He continued to say,  "As a leader, you either support equality for all loving couples or you don't."

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