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Michigan won’t recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend before a court halted a decision that opened the door to gay nuptials, Gov. Rick Snyder just announced. The announcement comes a day after an appeals court indefinitely stopped any additional same-sex marriages. It will likely take months for the court to make its own judgment about whether a Michigan constitutional amendment that says marriage only is between a man and a woman violates the U.S. Constitution. Snyder’s move closes the door to certain benefits reserved solely for married couples.
“Snyder basically concedes that the marriages are valid for federal purposes,” said Jay Kaplan, LGBT staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan. “But it is very disappointing that Snyder continues to act as if Saturday did not happen for all state purposes. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. We believe that doing anything less violates our laws and the constitution and it adds to the confusion and instability that these couples have to endure. This is not something Snyder had to do.”
The hundreds of couples that got married March 22 at four county clerks’ offices will not be eligible for state benefits such as the right to adopt each other’s children, spousal inheritance, and the right to divorce.
“It’s disappointing but I don’t know it’s not surprising,” said Amanda Shelton who married her longtime partner Kay Shelton, March 22. Together they are raising two children, now ages 6 and 3. “In my view this is a 10 round fight, and we’re about in the middle round right now. It’s really disappointing that people can’t adopt their children – that kids are still in legal limbo. I wish Snyder would look into my kids’ faces and explain to them why they don’t count.”
“I am very sad that Gov. Snyder does not get the fairness issue,” said BC Cabangbang who married his longtime partner Gary Murphy at the Oakland County Clerk’s office. “I don’t know why he chooses to be on the wrong side of history. He’ll have to explain it to his grandchildren why he was so opposed to loving, committed couples.”
Cabangbang said he is thankful that the Obama administration and the federal government recognize legitimate same-sex marriages. “I’m just really holding on to that so I don’t go totally berserk. I’m very happy, but at the same time I’m sad, because we chose to get married in our home state of Michigan.”