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Divided R.O.Commission Sends AG Recommendation…

Divided R.O.Commission Sends AG Recommendation on DeBoer Case (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 8, 2014)

The Royal Oak City Commission passed a resolution Monday urging Governor Jim Shaffer KELLER ad blackRick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette to stop using taxpayer resources to appeal the case that overturned Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The March 21 decision in DeBoer v. Snyder granted gays and lesbians the right to marry, and during a brief window of opportunity 315 Michigan couples did.  However Schuette asked the court for an emergency stay and to put the ruling on hold during the appeal process.  The process could take years, though the Attorney General has filed for an expedited hearing.

“These marriages have been recognized by Governor Snyder as being completely legal in the eyes of Michigan Law,” said Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle, who introduced the resolution.  “The continuation of the appeals process is going to cost the taxpayers and indeterminate amount of money.  At the same time, BTLWeddingExpo_144x360Attorneys General in several other states – Oregon, Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, and Illinois have decided to cease their appeals, realizing that those appeals will not in fact withstand a Federal Constitutional Challenge.”

Mahrle acknowledged city’s past with regards to LGBT equality, noting the 2001 failed attempt at passing an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, and the 2004 ban on gay marriage that was done through a statewide election.  “However we have seen a sea change in that time,” he said.  The residents of Royal Oak did pass a human rights ordinance in November 2013.

Commissioner Kyle DuBac called the appeal a “criminal waste of taxpayer dollars.”  Mayor Jim Ellison said “Mr. Schuette has a choice whether to follow this process or not and I think its incumbent upon all those who disagree with this choice to follow this process to make it known to him that they disagree.”seed09_robert_wittenberg

Commissioner David Poulton voted against the resolution.  “There’s a lot of emotion on this issue,” Poulton said.  “It’s an important issue, but it’s in the legal process.  The issue will be dealt with. We will move forward.  We don’t need to tell the Attorney General to do this or that or the other.  We just need to abide by the legal process.”

Another Commissioner abstained from voting.  Commissioner Peggy Goodwin stated that such discussions not belong at the City Commission level. Goodwin supported last year’s human rights ordinance, and said she “appreciates the sentiment,” of the resolution, objecting only to its relevance to the Royal Oak Commission.

The resolution will be sent on to the relevant parties, including Snyder and Schuette.  Ann Arbor has also passed a similar resolution.

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