Wedding Bells For Michigan Grow Louder

BTL Staff
By | 2015-02-12T09:00:00-04:00 February 12th, 2015|Opinions, Viewpoints|

This June the U.S. Supreme Court will finally decide whether to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples nationwide, and it will be Michigan’s DeBoer v. Snyder case that will help determine the outcome. Anticipation, excitement, worry and cautious optimism can be felt as we wait to hear whether the Justices will grant DeBoer and Rowse the right to marry, and with them millions of other couples across the country.
Momentum appears to be on our side. Since October, when the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from rulings allowing same-sex marriages in five states, it has denied requests to stay orders requiring other states to let same-sex couples marry. Largely as a consequence of the court’s inaction, the number of states with same-sex marriage expanded to 37 from 19, along with the District of Columbia, in just four months.
Last week, Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder announced he would not challenge a federal judge’s ruling that declared valid more than 300 same-sex marriages performed March 22, 2013, one day after Judge Friedman’s historic ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder that struck down Michigan’s marriage ban. Also last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to grant Alabama’s request to extend a stay on same-sex marriages in that deep southern state.
In a dissent joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged that the court’s move to allow gay marriages to go ahead in Alabama “may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution” as it considers cases from Michigan and three other states on whether same-sex marriage bans are permitted under the U.S. Constitution. The court’s normal practice would have been to put the Alabama case on hold until it had decided the cases involving the same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. One of the factors the court considers when deciding whether to put a hold on a lower-court ruling is the “likelihood of success” for the petitioners if the case were to be appealed.
LGBT rights attorneys were giddy on hearing the news.
Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, said the justices’ action on Alabama “has telegraphed there is virtually zero risk that they will issue an anti-equality ruling this summer.” The group also told same-sex couples in the 13 states, including Michigan, where same-sex marriage is still banned to “start your wedding plans now.”
If the court in fact does what it looks like they are poised to do, marriage equality will become reality this June. DeBoer v. Snyder will go down in the annals of history with other hugely influential Supreme Court decisions such as Roe v. Wade and Loving v. Virginia.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.