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DETROIT – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette sent all 83 county clerks a memo Oct. 16 instructing them to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even if a federal judge declared the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying to be unconstitutional. That was the testimony by Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown Mar. 4, who is a defendant in DeBoer v. Snyder. She said a second page of the memo eventually explained that the state would ask for a stay of such a court decision. “But I think especially if you don’t look at the attachment and you just read just the body of the email, you know,” said Brown, “you open your email and that’s the part that comes up that says that same sex marriage licenses should not be issued basically – regardless of, you know, what the judge says.”
Brown said she did not report to the governor or the attorney general. “I’m an elected county person, and the people that I answer to would be the 1.2 million people of Oakland County.” When asked if a final order of the federal court strikes down the Michigan constitutional ban as unconstitutional and she receives conflicting instructions from AG Schuette which would she follow, she said, “Well, my job is it follow what the judge says, not what the AG says.”
Brown has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality and was identified as an “adverse” witness by the state’s attorney.