Mich. Governor Nears Verdict On Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday he wants to quickly decide the legal status of hundreds of same-sex marriages conducted after a judge struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban but before the ruling was halted.
The Republican governor could make an announcement later Wednesday after consulting with lawyers.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to provide some clarity at least from our perspective on that relatively soon,” Snyder told reporters after speaking at an agricultural summit near Lansing. “My job is to actually follow the law, and that’s the issue we’re analyzing right now.”
The governor ideally will announce his decision Wednesday, but it could be later, spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court put an indefinite halt to gay marriage in Michigan while it takes a longer look at U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s decision Friday overturning a 2004 voter-approved constitutional ban. Hundreds of same-sex couples in four counties were married Saturday before the appeals court stepped in with a temporary stay.
What remains unclear is the legal status — including the benefits that come with marriage — of those couples in Washtenaw, Ingham, Oakland and Muskegon counties. Supporters of same-sex marriage are urging the Obama administration to recognize the marriages for purposes of federal benefits as it has done in other states.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said the review by Snyder’s office offers a glimmer of hope for those same-sex couples married last weekend.
“His legal eagles are looking at the possibility that those same-sex couples that were married in Michigan on Saturday may indeed have some constitutional rights. Now, when we asked the Attorney General Bill Schuette about that issue, he said this will be decided by the courts,” Skubick said. “One of the questions is ‘Does the stay issued by the Cincinnati appeals court impact what happened on Saturday?’ And the governor’s office is basically looking at that issue now.”
Snyder supported traditional marriage in his 2010 campaign but keeps mostly silent on social issues in favor of focusing on the economy. His detachment has exasperated critics who say he should take more of a leadership role, even on an issue he would prefer go away.
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