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State of Michigan Tells Court: Marriages Never Existed

State of Michigan Tells Court: Marriages Never Existedessential

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 16, 2014)

As attorneys wait to see if the case of DeBoer v. Snyder goes to the Supreme Court, the battle continues over whether the State of Michigan should recognize the 300 marriages performed in the window of time when same-sex marriage was allowed in the state. On Friday, Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office filed paperwork telling U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith that the State will carry on as if the marriages never existed.

The brief, filed in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) on behalf of six of the couples who legally obtained marriage licenses following a ruling by 6th Circuit Court Judge Friedman that struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban, asked two questions: 1. Are Plaintiffs’ marriages void in light of the Sixth Circuit’s decision in DeBoer v Snyder? and 2.Even if Plaintiffs’ marriages are not void, can the dinos02sidelogo3marriages be recognized for any purpose?

The State says no.

State lawyers wrote: “The Sixth Circuit’s decision in DeBoer affirmed the validity of Michigan’s Marriage Amendment, which states, ‘[t]o secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.’“Now that the Sixth Circuit has reversed the district court’s decision in DeBoer, that condition cannot be met, and Plaintiffs’ marriages are therefore void.“It is as if the legal premise upon which Plaintiffs’ marriages are based never existed.

“Consequently, from a legal standpoint, because the marriages rested solely on the district court’s erroneous decision, which has now been reversed, it is as if the marriages never existed, and Plaintiffs’ requests for benefits attendant to a legal marriage must be denied,” the Nov. 14 brief in Caspar v. Snyder stated.nicholas-schrock-allstate

Schuette has asked the court to hold off ruling in this case until the matter is decided by the Supreme Court, writing “Defendants [the State] continue to believe that this Court should hold this case in abeyance pending a final decision in DeBoer , including a decision by the United States Supreme Court, if applicable. But if the Court declines to hold the case in abeyance, then Defendants’ motion to dismiss must be granted and Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction must be denied because, under the Sixth Circuit’s decision in DeBoer, Plaintiffs’ marriages are void and cannot be recognized for any purposes.”

The issue of marriage equality in Michigan came into the legal arena when April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park sued the state for the right to jointly adopt their three children. They also added the right to marry to their suit. Judge Friedman overturned the State’s ban on same sex marriage. The State appealed, and the ban was upheld. Nationwide most courts have approved same sex marriage. Now that there is a disagreement CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2in rulings, there is a chance that the DeBoer case may be the one selected to go to the Supreme Court, which would decide for the entire country.

Previous stories: Rhuland Peltonen



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