Another Marriage Ban Bites The Dust, This Time In Michigan

deboer and rowse 200x299It’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.


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  • BBellairs

    I can finally say I’m proud to be from Michigan!


    Why do the states continue to waste money on appeals when the citizens want it. Just because they personally are against it?

  • Scribe38

    @BBellairs: Not proud to live in Michigan because those are the people who voted for this stupid law. I am happy the federal judge corrected the injustice, but Synder is still governor and the state still has a horrible gay rights history.

  • jwrappaport

    I’m the first to complain about the legal illiteracy on here, but I’m not sure what your objection is with the excerpt you provided. It doesn’t say or imply that the Supreme Court can act of its own volition and skirt its Article III limitations. All it’s saying is that Windsor opened the floodgates for the decisions we’ve seen, and that it’s only a matter of time (a year or two probably) before the Court grants review in one of the cases and extends Windsor to the states.

    These seem like pretty uncontroversial, if inartfully expressed, propositions.

  • jwrappaport

    Also, I would add that Scalia did exactly that: he lamented very openly that Windsor “effectively legalized gay marriage everywhere.”

  • tricky ricky

    the judge wrote a devastating opinion which eviscerated every single argument put forward by the state AND he called all of their expert witnesses unbelievable and said their research was a bunch of hooey. he stopped short of calling them out and out liars.

  • jwrappaport

    Whoa! They banned Caleb in SC. Farewell, counselor.

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