U.S. News


Mich. Same-Sex Couples In Limbo After Court Issues Stay

It took Michigan's Republican attorney general only a few hours to appeal to a court and halt same-sex marriages in his state.
Posted at 2:51 PM, Mar 23, 2014

Dozens of same-sex couples in Michigan flocked to the altar Friday after a federal judge's ruling stuck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

But only hours later a temporary stay was put in place by a court of appeals, leaving the hundreds of couples who managed to obtain a marriage license, but were not yet married, in limbo. WXYZ spoke to one couple who, until recently, believed they would never see marriage equality in their lifetimes. 

"I also do believe there is some real justice in the court system and it will be denied, and not just the stay, it will go beyond the stay and get approved."

A decade ago Michigan voters approved a gay marriage ban — the ban struck down by a federal judge Friday. But less than 24 hours later, a federal courts ordered a temporary stay on the ruling — effectively halting all same-sex marriages. 

The stay was requested by Michigan's Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette, who said "constitutions aren't meant to be convenient." 

"I'm going to stand up for the constitution, that's what I do, I don't believe in selective enforcement."

What isn't clear is what the legal status will be for those newly-married couples, if the court issues a permanent stay. Though one University of Richmond law professor did offer some insight. 

He tells The Detroit News,  I don’t think [the temporary stay] tells us much about what the court is going to do ... I think maybe they are trying to head off this frenzy of marriages between now and then that were possible in the earlier order."

If the stay is lifted, Michigan will join the District of Columbia and 17 states that allow same-sex marriage.