same sex marriage

FLICKR USER ALAN CLEAVER / FLICKR

April 15th, the looming tax deadline, is approaching.

While it can be complicated for anyone to figure out what we owe Lansing and Uncle Sam, there’s a particular group facing extra complications: same-sex couples in Michigan. These couples can file a joint form for their federal taxes, but the state of Michigan considers them single.

U.S. Supreme Court

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office has delivered the state's defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.

Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives are introducing bills to repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. This has about as much chance of becoming law as I have of becoming starting forward for the Detroit Pistons.

Republicans have large majorities in both the house and the senate, and they’d never support this. 

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the DeBoer decision that briefly legalized same-sex marriage in Michigan in March 2014. To that end, there were some three-hundred one-year wedding anniversaries celebrated around the state yesterday.

Wikimedia Commons

Democratic lawmakers in Lansing are proposing a group of bills that would repeal Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.

This legislation comes a little over a month before the Supreme Court will take up the Michigan case on the legality of same sex marriage.

State Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, says they are introducing these bills now because Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of 300 same sex couples who were married in Michigan.

State Capitol
user aunt owwee / Flickr

The Michigan House yesterday approved legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies that receive state money to turn away couples based on religious objections. Today, legislative Democrats introduced bills to overturn Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

The Supreme Court has announced they plan to hear arguments on two issues around same-sex marriage on April 28. Do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, and are states required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states?

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

Each Thursday, we discuss Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Today, we spoke about Governor Snyder's decision not to appeal a judge's ruling that says Michigan must recognize the roughly 320 same sex marriages that occurred in 2014. We also talked about where the state may be headed on LGBT rights.

Here's our conversation:

Marsha Caspar and Glenna DeJong with Frizzy. They were the first same-sex couple married in Michigan on March 22, after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The ban was restored by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

More than 300 gay and lesbian couples in Michigan are legally married now that Governor Rick Snyder has decided not to contest a court order. It says the state has to recognize the marriages that took place last spring.

But, the state will continue to defend the same-sex marriage ban in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rowse/DeBoer

On January 16, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments this spring in four cases that could lead to legally recognizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

One of those four cases was brought by Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer of Hazel Park. The couple hopes to marry so they can co-adopt their four children. Dana Nessel is the attorney that will help them through the case.

But the nation’s big civil rights and gay rights groups are not stepping up to support this potentially historic case. Here’s why:

Marsha Caspar and Glenna DeJong with Frizzy. They were the first same-sex couple married in Michigan on March 22, after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The ban was restored by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state will recognize the marriages that were performed in Michigan last March. Those marriages were performed on March 22, 2014 - a day after a federal judge struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, and before another court put more of those marriages on hold while the case worked its way up through the courts.

Michigan could see 300 same-sex marriages legally recognized by the end of the week if Governor Snyder decides not to appeal a federal judge's opinion on the matter. 

Listen above to hear “It's Just Politics” co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta give the lowdown, and check out their story here.

US Supreme Court

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss a Michigan couple whose case could determine constitutional same-sex marriage rights, a challenge to Michigan’s right-to-work law, and a Republican-proposed plan for changes to the Electoral College.

Get ready for more potholes this upcoming spring season.
User _chrisUK / flickr.com

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a move to fix the state’s roads, the most recent ruling involving same-sex laws, and a new standardized test for Michigan’s public schools.


Photo from the 2011 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C.
user ep_jhu / Flickr

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has upheld anti-gay marriage laws in four states, including Michigan's.

The court's ruling counters rulings from other courts that have ruled against the bans.

The justices reiterated the question in front of them is not whether gay marriage is a good idea, but whether the 14th amendment prohibits a state from defining marriage.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

 

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday it will not review lower court rulings on same-sex marriage cases from several states.

Kathy Gray, Detroit Free Press reporter, says that means the U.S. Supreme Court let those lower court rulings stand, which lift the ban on same-sex marriage in the five states – Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana. 

Michigan's case is still up in the air, because it's being heard – along with cases in Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky – in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a decision could come at any time.

user dbking / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear seven same-sex marriage cases. And that leaves the fate of Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A decision from the Sixth Circuit could come at any time. The case was argued in August. Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee are also waiting on the ruling. A decision to uphold same-sex marriage bans in those states and Michigan would create a conflict between different circuits that could land the case before the Supreme Court.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the issue of gay marriage this session. Read more about this decision's implications here.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is optimistic the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to take up the question of gay marriage this year.

User: Kelly Kline / Flickr

Michigan joined three other states yesterday in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. All four states argued to keep their bans against same-sex marriage intact.

Rick Pluta with the Michigan Public Radio Network was in Cincinnati to hear the arguments. He joined us on the show today.

“The case in Cincinnati focused on the fact that this same-sex marriage ban was approved by voters, and that courts really ought not to step in and just change what voters have decided. So the arguments were: should the judiciary step in and say that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, and if now is the right time to do it.”

user The Geary's / Flickr

There’s a hearing Wednesday in Cincinnati on Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. The case is before the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A panel of judges will also hear arguments on same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Matthileo / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest in the same-sex marriage debate, roads funding, whether Democrats can overturn the abortion insurance law, and a new controversy with the Education Achievement Authority.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A new poll done by EPIC-MRA for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV indicates that same-sex marriage has lost support in Michigan. 

In 2013, the poll indicated that 51% supported same-sex marriage, and 41% said they opposed.

If it were put to a vote now, however, the poll found that only 47% would vote yes and 46% would vote no. The other 7% were either undecided, or refused to say. (The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4%.)

You can see the results from EPIC-MRA here (see question 26).

Samantha Wolf and Martha Rutledge are among the plaintiffs in the ACLU's case. They said, "we were so excited when we got married, but it felt like such a blow to have that taken away so soon."
ACLU

The ACLU of Michigan has filed a lawsuit that seeks to force Michigan to recognize the marriages of around 300 same-sex couples.

The couples married on Saturday, March 22 after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage the day before. Several county clerks had opened their offices to allow the marriages to go forward. A federal appeals court later issued a stay on the ruling, which put a hold on any more marriages from taking place.

And Gov. Snyder later announced that the state would not recognize the marriages that took place on that Saturday.

From the ACLU’s press release:

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples who were married after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban and before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put the decision on hold.

"As a matter of law and fundamental fairness, the state is obligated to extend the protections that flow from marriage to all those who celebrated their weddings last month," said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director.

The ACLU has more on the families who have joined the lawsuit. You can read more here.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Metro Detroit clergy leaders stood together Thursday to send a clear message: They support same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBT people.

They also strongly condemned some of their fellow Michigan Christian leaders who are fighting to uphold the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Last week, a group of about 200, mostly Michigan-based black pastors declared that “the fight is on” to protect “traditional” marriage.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A coalition of about 200 mostly Michigan-based black pastors says “the fight is on” when it comes to same-sex marriage.

A federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has appealed that ruling, and it’s now headed to the US 6th Circuit court of appeals.

The pastors condemned the ruling in an event at First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit Wednesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Backers of same-sex marriage are launching what an education campaign that could eventually evolve into a ballot effort to reverse Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Emily Dievendorf is part of the “Michigan for Marriage” campaign. She says Michiganders need to understand why gays and lesbians want the same ability to marry as heterosexuals. 

A former Republican state representative says he was on the "wrong side of history" when he opposed same-sex marriage during his time in Lansing 10 years ago. On today's show, Chris Ward, former representative from Genoa County talked about the gay marriage ban and the future of the Republican Party.

Then, we spoke with a very talented Flint rapper about his music and raising the profile of the Flint community.

We heard from writer Deidre Stevens about the Ca-Choo Club, a very unique way to attract allergy sufferers to Sault Ste. Marie.

Also, as Michigan's Aug. 5 primary and November election draw closer, there are some very tight races shaping up. Who are the voters who could most influence the outcome of these races, depending upon whether they stay home or go to the polls?

First on the show, yesterday was the deadline to file objections to the disclosure statement spelling out Detroit's plan to climb out of its bankruptcy hole.

And yes, objections poured in – long lists of objections to the disclosure statement.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood joined us today to tell us who's objecting, why, and what comes next.

Chris Ward in a photo for a 2008 cover story in Dome Magazine.
Dave Trumpie - trumpiephotography.com / Dome Magazine

It is never too late to offer a public "mea culpa" for taking a political action that you later believe was a serious mistake.

That's the idea behind a recent entry on the blog Republicus.

Former Republican State Rep. Chris Ward wrote the post declaring that he'd been on the "wrong side of history" when he opposed same-sex marriage during his time in Lansing.

Michigan Attorney General

  State Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to put the legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage on a fast track. Schuette is defending Michigan’s ban.

Schuette’s filed a motion with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to skip a hearing before a three judge panel and go directly to the entire 15-judge court. That could shave months, maybe as much as a year, off the appeals process. Schuette says the question needs to settled regardless of who wins in the end. 

U.S. Dept. of Education

The federal government will recognize the marriages of 300 gay and lesbian couples performed last weekend in Michigan before more weddings were blocked by an appeals court. That means they will be able file joint federal tax returns and share federal government benefits.

“I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government,” Holder said in a written statement.  “These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.”

Pages