Judge rules 300 Michigan same-sex marriages are valid

by Staff |

(REUTERS/Javier Galeano)Same-sex couples Todd (2nd R), and Jeff Delmay with Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello (L) get married at the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, Florida, Jan. 5, 2015. Florida's first same-sex weddings began in Miami on Monday, shortly before gay and lesbian couples were to begin tying the knot elsewhere in the 36th U.S. state to legalize such marriages. Judge Sarah Zabel later presided over the marriages of two Florida couples in ceremonies witnessed by a throng of media.

LANSING, Mich. (Christian Examiner) -- Michigan will recognize about 300 same-sex marriages that were performed last year during the short window from when a federal judge struck down the state's ban on gay marriage and when a U.S. appeals court put the decision on hold, Governor Rick Snyder said on Wednesday.

A federal judge in January ordered Michigan to recognize the marriages and the Republican governor said on Wednesday he would not appeal that ruling and noted that the U.S. Supreme Court would address the larger question later in 2015.

"The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples," Snyder said in a statement.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled on Jan. 15 the couples acquired a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution when they were wed even though a U.S. appeals court had reversed the original decision and upheld Michigan's law.

Goldsmith stayed his ruling for 21 days to give Michigan time to appeal. But the U.S. Supreme Court the following day agreed to decide whether states can ban gay marriage, taking up the Michigan case and those from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Same-sex marriage is legal now in 36 states plus the nation's capital, largely because of judicial activism:

-- Twenty-five, not counting Alabama, have had voter-approved amendments overturned by courts.

-- Fourteen, including Alabama, still only allow marriage between one man and one woman. But among these, Alabama and seven others (Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Misssissippi, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas) have had a judge overturn the ballot measures and appeals are in progress.

-- Eight state legislatures passed laws making same-sex marriages legal (Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont).

-- Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved measures to legaliz gay unions, as did the electorate in the District of Columbia.

Court partisanship has been evident in the multiple federal court rulings that overturned voter approved amendments to define marriage in traditional terms, as well as in the Sixth Circuit decision to uphold traditional marriage in Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

This trend of dramatic judicial support for homosexual marriage coincides with changes President Obama has been able to effect in the makeup of the courts.

The New York Times reported Sept. 13, 2014, that for the first time in a decade "judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents" and that Democratic appointees who hear full cases "now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals."

Reuters