DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants an entire federal appeals court to take a look at a decision overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Schuette told reporters Friday that he’s asking the Cincinnati-based court to skip the usual step of first assigning the case to a three-judge panel and instead hold a single hearing before the full panel of 15 judges.
Schuette said he wants to “cut to the chase,” adding that there’s plenty of precedent in other high-profile cases. He also said it would save time and money to have the full court take the appeal.
“The voters’ decision to define marriage is important, and the sooner we reach a final resolution from the courts, the better,” Schuette said in a statement.
Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional two weeks ago by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Detroit. Hundreds of couples in four counties were married before the appeals court suspended the ruling a day later.
Schuette has defended the gay-marriage ban, which was approved by 2.7 million voters (59 percent) in 2004. He said it’s his job to oppose challenges to the state constitution.
Friedman’s ruling came in a federal lawsuit filed in 2012 by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs. DeBoer and Rowse have said they sued because they were barred from jointly adopting each other’s children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., issue licenses for same-sex marriages. Since December, bans on gay marriage also have been overturned by courts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.
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