LANSING (CBS DETROIT) – As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hand down what could be a historic ruling on gay marriage this month, in Michigan there’s an effort underway that would put some legal obstacles in the way.
Republican Representative Todd Courser from Lapeer County says one of the bills would require that a clergy member sign any marriage certificate in Michigan.
“I’m completely traditional marriage – I believe that the traditional marriage is really God’s model for marriage. I don’t believe that government has a role in it,” says Courser.
Courser tells Newsradio 950 that he expects court challenges should his bills become law.
“It would take the idea of officiating marriages out of the hands of the … elected officials and put it back into the hands of those in ministry,” said Courser.
“The contract that has been in place for thousands of years is between a man and his wife on one side and God on the other side,” he expounds on his Michigan House Republican website.
Regina Calcagno from the group “Michigan For Marriage” says mandating religious marriages just won’t fly:
“That is a blatant, blatant violation of our constitution and it is offensive to think that people can use their faith as a weapon like that,” said Calcagno. “I have countless … leaders who are very much in support of their freedom to marry – they are currently having their religious freedom undermined by the fact that the state won’t allow them to marry same-sex couples.”
Under the legislation, noted as House Bills 4731, 4732, and 4733, the licensing components of marriage would remain a government responsibility, but municipal and judicial officials would no longer have the ability to perform wedding ceremonies. The bills protect public officials from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.