DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge says he will hold a trial before deciding whether to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said Wednesday he won’t make a decision without hearing testimony from experts on whether there’s a legitimate state interest in banning gay marriage.
Friedman said a trial will be scheduled for Feb. 25. In the meantime, the Detroit Free press reports the state attorney general Bill Schuette sent an email to all county clerks telling them they are forbidden from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Two Detroit-area nurses in a lesbian relationship argued in their lawsuit that the state’s constitutional amendment violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer sued last year to win the right to adopt each other’s children. But they refiled the lawsuit after Friedman suggested they also target the gay marriage ban.
Grace Wojcik and her partner — along with several other couples — were at the courthouse looking to immediately seek a marriage license if the judge had ruled in their favor Wednesday.
Wojcik said it’s not just the act of getting married that matters, but so much more.
“It means so much to us because there are so many things that I’m not sure people realize, you know, come with marriage and the ability to be legally recognized as married,” Wojcik said. “Different things like estate planning and protecting our future children and our property, that sort of thing. It means a lot to us.”
Annette Luber of Ortonville has been waiting 14 years to be able to marry her partner. She said she was disappointed by the ruling, but it still felt good to at least stand in line.
“It was encouraging, you know, because we were with other people waiting for the same thing,” Luber said. “But just to be standing there was a step in the right direction. Just a few days ago we couldn’t even be standing there.”
Brad Flynn of Plymouth was among dozens of people gathered to show their support.
“It’s a big issue because the recognition of gays and lesbians in our society is expanding over time,” Flynn said. “It is no longer the taboo … and the legal structures which prevent them from being able to do the same things — have the same legal protections as everyone else in the society — are crumbling.”
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.
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