DETROIT (AP/WWJ) – It is the state of Michigan’s turn to present evidence in the trial over the future of gay marriage.
About 50 protesters surrounded the courthouse as the trial resumed Monday in Detroit federal court, with signs supporting traditional marriage mingling alongside gay pride -themed rainbow signs.
April DeBoer, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said she’s “excited” to see what kind of evidence the state presents.
Nervous? “Not really,” she told WWJ’s legal analyst Charlie Langton. “We’re just waiting for the decision.”
Michigan voters banned gay marriage in 2004, but DeBoer and her partner, two Detroit-area nurses, are asking a judge to throw it out, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.
The state’s witness list includes economists and sociologists. The state has defended the constitutional amendment as a way to promote stable families through households led by a man and a woman.
Oakland County’s elected clerk, Lisa Brown, was the first to testify, saying she’ll follow the orders of a judge when it comes to same-sex marriage, not Michigan’s attorney general.
Brown was asked about an email last fall from the attorney general’s office, which warned county clerks not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even if a judge threw out the ban.
The state was planning other legal moves at the time, but federal Judge Bernard Friedman took no action. Brown says she doesn’t report to Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Following her testimony, the state’s case was dealt a blow when the judge found prospective witness Sherif Girgis, author of the book “What is Marriage” didn’t qualify as an expert witness.
“He has never been an expert witness in any other case,” Langton said, adding Girgis does not have a law degree.
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