Wedding Worries

Three Hundred Married Same-Sex Couples In Michigan Now Standing In Legal Limbo

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 14.46.38Hundreds of gay couples got married in Michigan on Saturday after a federal judge ruled that a decade-long ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

But on Sunday, the US Sixth Circuit Court issued a temporary stay on the ruling, putting the ban on same-sex marriage back into effect until Wednesday.

Marsha Caspar, 52, and Glenna DeJong, 53 (pictured), were the first couple to be married in the state. So, along with the 300 other couples that got married on Saturday, Marsha and Glenna now have no idea where they legally stand.

To make matters worse, Gov. Rick Snyder refuses to say whether the state will recognize the marriages performed during the brief period when gay marriage was legal on Saturday.

Speaking to USA today, East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett said “I think it’s a dramatic failure of leadership on the governor’s part. This is a hotly contested issue of public policy that’s being debated. To refuse to participate in a serious discussion about the ramifications of his administration’s policies on this issue, I think, is irresponsible.”

Snyder, a Republican, doesn’t have a great track record on gay rights. In 2011, he signed a law denying health benefits to civil partners of state employees, defending it as a “cost-cutting” measure.

Screen shot 2014-03-25 at 15.04.28
Marsha Caspar and Glenna DeJong had a simple ceremony on Saturday.

He’s also been quoted by Democratic spokesman Zack Pohls as having said during a 2010 TV debate with WXYZ-TV, that “on gay marriage, marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The District Court’s judgement comes back into effect on Wednesday, when the temporary stay (legal term for delay) expires.

A very similar situation happened in Utah in December, when over 1,000 gay couples got married after a similar initial striking down of the same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. But 17 days later, the U.S. Supreme Court intervened and issued a stay.

Jennifer Chapin-Smith, one of those married on Saturday, was thrilled to announce her marriage to Alexi Chapin-Smith on Sunday. “Everybody at first said, ‘Congratulations.’ Then they said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I really don’t know.”

Speaking to USA Today and the Detroit Free Press, Jennifer, a Quaker said: “We’re already married in the eyes of God and our religious community, our family, friends and our neighbors. It’s just the state of Michigan that wouldn’t recognize reality. It’s frustrating. Why can’t the state recognize what is real and truthful?”

The team at Queerty wish all the married couples of Michigan all the best for the future, and hope for a quick resolution.