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Federal Judge Expected To Rule On Michigan Gay Marriage Ban, And Clerks Are Ready

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DETROIT (WWJ) – A ruling could come down Friday in Detroit federal court which will either uphold Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, or declare it unconstitutional.

County clerks, including Barb Byrum in Ingham County, say they’ll be ready to “follow the law” almost immediately about hearing Judge Bernard Friedman’s decision.

“It is an honor to join couples in marriage and I look forward to the opportunity for all loving couples to marry in our great state,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950 on Thursday.

Byrum said her office would be able to issue marriage licenses to gay couples “within minutes,” should the ban be struck down.

“I am prepared to issue licenses to opposite sex couples at this time, and then if it is law and it is legal, then certainly same-sex couples at that time as well,” she said. “… I am following law, and I look forward to continuing to follow the law.”

The state’s same-sex marriage ban, passed by voters in 2004, is being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed in Detroit.

Those opposed to same-sex marriage believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman — many for religious reasons. The trial, though, has been dominated by testimony from social scientists and other experts about research, or a lack of research, on children and same-sex households.

Talking to WWJ earlier this week, two local constitutional law experts said they believe the state’s ban will be overturned as the courts catch up with Americans’ evolving views.

Byrum agrees.

“I believe the state did a horrible, horrible show of their case. I think they wasted taxpayer dollars, and I think the federal judge recognizes that, quite frankly,” Byrum said. “So I expect the judge to rule in favor of equality.”

If the ban is struck down, Michigan would become the 18th state in the country to legalize gay marriage.

Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

[Click here to catch up on the trial].

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