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Governor’s Office: State Won’t Immediately Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

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(credit: istock)

(credit: istock)

LANSING (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder’s office says state agencies won’t immediately recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages that were performed in the hours before an appeals court put on hold a judge’s ruling that tossed out a state ban on gay marriage.

His office says Snyder is waiting until the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati decides whether to extend the hold on the ruling. That’s expected no sooner than Wednesday.

Meantime, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett have sent a letter asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to recognize the marriages on federal level. While the marriages would likely be deemed lawful in states where gay marriage is legal, the couples will have to wait until the appeals process plays out in Michigan to be recognized as legally married in this state.

Hundreds of Michigan couples lined up Saturday morning to get marriage licenses after federal Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Friday that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

But State Attorney General Bill Schuette, the same day, filled a request with a federal appeals court to suspend the decision.

Talking to WWJ’s Charlie Langton, Ron Eldridge of Holly was the first person in line to file a marriage license at the  Oakland County Clerk’s Office on Monday morning.

Eldridge and his partner, who were married on Saturday, have been together for 30 years and have 12 grandchildren.

“It was exciting and good, and all of our family was there — all of our kids and grandchildren,” Eldridge said.

Helen of White Lake, who married her partner of 21 years on Saturday, was anxious as she filed their completed application on Monday.

“I’m absolutely worried,” she said. “I don’t know why Michigan’s dragging its feet, and I wish they’d never voted in 2004 against it. The way they wrote the ballot was backwards … and we’re just here trying to protect ourselves.”

According to Friedman, Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, passed by voters in 2004, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. [READ RULING]

Francyne Stacey, an attorney with Butzel-Long in Ann Arbor, told WWJ she believes Friedman’s ruling will be upheld. “These kinds of amendments and … statutes are just falling all around the country and the state is spending taxpayer money on something that is inevitably going to change,”  Stacey said.

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

If Friendman’s decision is upheld, Michigan will become the 18th state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to legally marry identically to hetrosexual marriages.  Since December, bans on gay marriage have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.

MORE: Michigan Issues 1st Same-Sex Marriage License; Gay Couples Line Up To Tie The Knot

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