It’s beginning to get a bit monotonous, but in a good way: a federal judge has struck down yet another state ban on marriage equality, on the grounds that the state has no “legitimate” interest in prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. This time the ruling came in Michigan, following the first trial, complete with testimony, challenging a marriage ban since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA last June.
“Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage,” the judge wrote. “Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law.”
The state immediately sought a stay in the ruling, to prevent marriages from started at once. “Voters enshrined that decision in our Michigan constitution and their will should stand and be respected. I’ll continue my duty to protect, defend the Constitution,” Republican (‘natch) Attorney General Bill Schuette said. In fact, a majority of Michigan citizens now favor marriage equality, a fact that Schuette prefers to ignore.
Friedman’s ruling makes the ninth federal court decision in a row supporting marriage equality. The Michigan case involved April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who are raising three special needs children together and want to get married. The state, which argued in support of a marriage ban passed by voters in 2004, said that the women were great parents but that they shouldn’t be able to get married.
At the same time, though, the state argued that children raised in same-sex households had more problems than kids with heterosexual parents. Since all the scientific evidence proves that this is untrue, the state had to turn to discredited right-wing researcher Mark Regnerus, whose own university colleagues essentially hung him out to dry.
Friedman was no kinder. “The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” he wrote in his decision. While this kind of comment probably doesn’t end Regnerus’s career as the right’s favorite “expert,” it’s not one he’s likely to feature on his resume either.
The only question left at this point is when will the Supreme Court get with the program and acknowledge that its marriage equality rulings last year effectively legalized same-sex weddings everywhere.