Gay marriages have begun in Michigan!

UPDATE: And the appellate court has decided to stay the marriages of gay couples in Michigan until Wednesdsay, when it will make a decision on whether to stay them throughout the state’s appeal. Still, as I note below, it’s already too late.  Reportedly over 200 gay couples were married in Michigan today. That adds a whole other element to the appeal, one that potentially works in our favor.

I try to refrain from using the exclamation point, but this is worth it.  Gay couples are getting married in Michigan!

michigan-gay-marriage-feature

I’d reported last night that a federal court in Michigan struck down the state constitution’s gay marriage ban, while at the same time taking a huge swipe at the lead anti-gay “study,” which was conceived at the Republican think tank “The Heritage Foundation.”

gay-weddings-utah

Utah saw a two-week spate of gay weddings last December.

Michigan is the 14th state in a row to have a gay marriage court victory following the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer in US v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

While the Windsor decision did not legalize gay marriage, many of us believed the language to be so broad that it would lead to such decisions in lower courts (thus permitting the issue to be resolved more slowly than in one fell swoop in a Supreme Court decision, perhaps making it more politically palatable to the public).

In Michigan this morning, we appear to be having a repeat of what happened in Utah last Christmas.  Pending a decision on a stay from the appellate court, people are getting married.  In Utah, those marriages took place for a good two weeks before the courts stepped in and said “wait until we issue a final ruling.”

The reason this matters is because now the cat’s out of the bag.  It would be one thing for an appellate court to overturn a lower court ruling in favor of gays getting married. It’s another thing entirely for the appellate court to overturn thousands of actual marriages, in many cases affecting children.

And it gets even more complicated than that.  If the court permits those already-married to stay married, while telling other gay couples that they can’t get married, the wanting-to-get-married gay couples would have an equal protection claim under the federal Constitution: Why are some gay couples permitted to be wed under state (possibly) and federal (certainly) law in Michigan while some are not?  The Constitution tends to frown on treating identical people differently without very good reason.

Here are some great images of the Michigan weddings by Chris Savage and others on Twitter:

michigan-gay-marriage-6 michicgan-gay-weddings-5 michigan-gay-weddings-4 michigan-gay-weddings-3 michigan-gay-married-2 michigan-gay-marriage-1


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Butch1

    They love to put a wrench into the wheels of progress. It’s a cretin’s job.

  • Moderator3

    You may want to add that they are pictures of Michigan marriages. Although, I just did.

  • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog
  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    The reactionary upper peninsula must be raging; now it’s surrounded by Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario!

  • westburke

    If only the anti-gay hysteria were a simple drinking game.

  • westburke

    As much as they can. All of the anti-gay politicians and lawyers bring down fat stacks for lying through their teeth about LGBT people. They want to keep that gravy train rolling.

  • nicho

    How much more taxpayer money are the Christians and other hate groups going to waste? Apparently as much as they can.

  • arcadesproject

    It’s only a rear guard action by the losers. Love and reason will prevail.

  • arcadesproject

    Should we start a ‘fabric of society’ watch? To see if it gets shredded and utterly destroyed? Take a drink every time you see something unravel.

  • Butch1

    We knew the asshats would put a stay in place just to be the asses that they are. Remember, this is Governor/Dictator Snyder’s state and Lansing is run by a majority of Republicans. They will not be happy until they try and return their social laws back to the dark ages. It may be too late for these asses since the horses have been let out of the barn already. Now, we will have to let the courts do there jobs. Michigan courts are known to be rather conservative. I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but we have a lot of prescience on our side. They will have to be deaf, blind and ignorant of the Constitution to rule against gay citizens and their equal right to marry.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And the marriages have stopped. Dammit.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/22/michigan-same-sex-marriage_n_5014572.html

    MASON, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court issued an order Saturday preventing more same-sex couples from getting married in Michigan for at least several more days.

    The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said it issued the stay because it needed more time to consider the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling Friday overturning Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The court said its stay would last until at least Wednesday.

    Earlier Saturday, dozens of same-sex couples in at least four Michigan counties wasted no time
    in getting hitched, uncertain of how the appeals court would act.

  • 2patricius2

    Wonderful post, and important message about our need to keep pushing for equality all over the world.

  • ericxdc

    folks, be sure to take a deep breath and truly savor these events. They’re historic. We stand on the shoulders of our heroes who fought, loved, and died, for our equality. Savor the victories and let it reinforce our determination to live our lives as full and equal citizens – and demand the same for our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, children and loved ones.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Go ahead and indulge yourself in an exclamation point or two, John.

    The great thing about this is the legal precedent is now very clearly on the side of the newly married gay and lesbian couples, even when temporary stays upon appeal are issued. That is to say, the marriages themselves, enacted during the window between ruling and stay, will stand as valid and legally binding.

    Unlike the disappointment in ’04 when the license my wife and I received from San Francisco was declared null and void, that’s no longer a danger here.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Good to hear from you, BeminDC.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    At this point, Mighty, any gay/lesbian couples living in states that still ban marriage equality might as well head to a nearby state that does have gay marriage and get hitched.

    For one thing, the Feds are recognizing those marriages, even after people return home. So there’s a tangible benefit to be had regardless.

    And secondly, every additional legally married couple living in states still attempting to ban recognition creates more legal pressure to overturn the bans under equal protection.

  • Sally

    I am in Midland, MI, home of the illustrious tax rewriter, Dave Camp, and our current AG, Bill Schuette, who is trying his best to stop this, because ’2.5 million voters changed Michigan’s Constitution in 2001, and I will speak for them.’ Yeah, Bill, keep it up,,and you will be gone with Snyder soon. Times have changed, and you already have shown how you feel about voters. For those who don’t know, MI passed a medical marijuana bill, and Schuette spent the next two years shutting down every dispensary in the state. We passed a bill banning Emergency Managers, and Snyder and Schuette had a replacement bill already in the works, which they rammed through the lame duck legislature a mere six weeks after voters had spoken. The Kochs and ALEC tried to take over this state for the Christian Dominionists. I am glad to see the courts trying to give it back to the people.

  • BeminDC

    I’m BeminDC, formerly known as BeminBos. I’m an occasional commenter and a frequent lurker here. I was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1975. My gay father divorced my mother around the time I turned seven, and I was lucky enough to see a strong community of gay people when I visited my father in Flint, Michigan every other week. This was key to surviving my teens in Michigan and building up a confident teen. The other 12 days out of those two weeks, though, were spent in rural Michigan, in Hemlock, Michigan, which was a pretty homophobic, fundamentalist Christian kind of a place. Not like Russia, but not a safe place to be an out kid. I pushed a little bit on the margins, writing a paper on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993 during my senior year of high school I was the first openly gay male (not counting seniors in their final semester) at a small, wonderful school, Alma College, coming out during my freshman year after showing up on the front page of The Almanian after I attended a gay rights week event. There were some scary moments — death threats, nasty notes, snide comments. There was also the hulking football jock across the hall who let it be known that no one would be saying “Fag” on our hall and they would have to deal with him if they did. I thrived at Alma College and was selected by the faculty and students to receive the college’s top honor and to be the graduation speaker. I used my 1998 graduation speech to, in part, call out our other graduation speaker, right-wing Senator Spencer Abraham for being against participation by ALL of Michigan’s citizens, gay and straight. I left the state, though, because gay people really weren’t welcome there and weren’t treated like full fledged citizens. On the East coast I saw that people were much more cool about The Gays. After time in the Peace Corps and grad school and law school, I came back to Michigan many years later (from 2007 – 2009) and was the first openly gay law clerk for a wonderful federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan (not Judge Friedman). After a decade plus out of the state, it still felt like a place that was a bit stuck in the past. It did not feel like a place like Massachusetts where being gay isn’t a big deal and everyone was treated equally. So, I’m pinching myself today — I know intellectually that the country is making great strides towards accepting gay folks, and this is something I’ve spent over two decades working on. I never quite believed it would happen in Michigan. If you’ve made it this far through my rambling comment, here’s my point: We’re winning. And we’re not just winning in places like California and DC, we’re winning in places like Michigan and Iowa. And in a couple of years, gay folks in places like Mississippi and Arkansas will join us. And then it will be our collective responsibility (as it already is now) to keep pushing for equality all over the world. We’ll never win everyone’s hearts, but we can make homophobia as socially unacceptable and weird as racism. It’s getting better, even in places like Hemlock, Michigan.

  • Mighty

    I wish they could have begun in TX but nope had to issue a stay. Ugh. I wonder how long it will take to go through the courts. I am hoping cases already in the system will hit soon and overturn all state bans instead of having to wait state by state.

  • chillinout.

    Thank God! Now to all 50 states!

  • Indigo

    Good!

  • AJayne

    Thank you for sharing the photos. Just can’t get enough of those happy, excited faces! (And, yes, another exclamation point.)

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