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LANSING – As a federal judge in Detroit is preparing to rule in the case of April DeBoer, et al, v. Richard Snyder, et al, at least two Michigan county clerks say they are ready to offer same-sex marriage licenses should the case find Michigan’s Marriage Amendment is unconstitutional.
“I, too, am preparing to marry all loving couples to each other,” says Barbara Byrum, Ingham County Clerk. She says she has been in contact with legal counsel as well as “other county clerks” about the potential impacts of a ruling in DeBoer.
Byrum says she expects to be able to offer marriage licenses “immediately,” and that she, herself, is prepared to perform marriage ceremonies.
She notes, however, that even if Judge Bernard Friedman does strike down Michigan’s laws and constitutional amendment as unconstitutional, the state government is expected to request a stay of the ruling. A stay would hold the ruling until higher courts have had an opportunity to review the case and issue rulings.
“I would expect the Attorney General’s Office to file a stay if the court rules it’s unconstitutional,” Byrum, a former state lawmaker said. “If a stay is not filed, I will immediately begin offering marriages to all loving couples.”
California’s Proposition 8 underwent a similar journey when a San Francisco federal judge ruled the amendment was unconstitutional. That decision was stayed until review by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and when that court concluded the original decision was correct, its decision was stayed until a review by the Supreme Court of the United States. That case was determined nearly one week ago, with the high court ruling that supporters of the law had no standing in court. That cleared the way for California to once again offer same-sex nuptials, and even a last minute appeal to the high court on Saturday resulted in a denial of standing and paved the way for every county in California to offer marriage to same-sex couples.
Ingham is not alone. At a rally celebrating the Supreme Court rulings last week, officials from the Wastenaw County Clerk’s office distributed a document announcing intentions to host a marriage equality celebration if Friedman strikes down Michigan’s marriage ban.
A decision by Friedman could come as soon as July 10.