US: Over 300 gay married couples ‘left in limbo’ after Michigan marriage ban put back in place

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Michigan is still refusing to clarify the legal status of the over 300 same-sex couples who legally married before a same-sex marriage ban was put back in place.

Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down last Friday, leading clerks in several counties to immediately start performing marriages.

However, the state was granted an emergency stay to stop the marriages a day later, putting the ban back in place pending a further ruling.

This has left the over 300 couples who married in the time between the ruling in a state of uncertainty, as the state is yet to clarify if it will recognise their marriages.

Douglas Meeks, who also married his partner on Saturday, wrote for MLive: “Today, I wake up not knowing the legal status of my marriage. Is it valid in Michigan? Is it valid in other states? Will the federal government recognize it? Which way will the appeal go? When will the motion a stay be lifted? Most importantly, when will all my friends be able to get married and protect their families? I don’t know any of these answers.”

Jennifer Chapin-Smith, who had married her partner Alexi Chapin-Smith, told USAToday that the state needs to recognise their marriage soon.

She said: “We’re already married in the eyes of God and our religious community, our family, friends and our neighbours. It’s just the state of Michigan that wouldn’t recognize reality. It’s frustrating. Why can’t the state recognize what is real and truthful?”

“We really don’t know [what is happening]. Everybody at first said, ‘Congratulations.’ Then they said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I really don’t know’.”

Attorney Laura Milliken Gray, who is representing same-sex couples in Utah in a similar situation, told USAToday: “[It] creates even more uncertainty for those families who were married as to whether or not they have any rights or not,”

The US Justice Department said earlier today it is “closely monitoring” the situation, while a further ruling on the stay is expected on Wednesday.