US Justice Department ‘closely monitoring’ Michigan gay marriage situation

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The US Justice Department has responded to calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to recognise the 300+ same-sex marriages which took place in Michigan before a stay, to say it is “closely monitoring” the situation.

Not long after a judge declared Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, an appeals court issued a stay against the ruling.

Ruling on Friday, US District Judge Bernard Friedman suggested that upholding a ban on same-sex marriage would be unfair to the children of gay couples, and said it was unconstitutional.

However, clerks in Michigan were then told to cease issuing marriage licenses to hundreds of same-sex couples after a motion of stay has once more temporarily reinstated the ban.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett on Monday, however, wrote a letter urging Holder to recognise the 300+ couples who married in the state on Saturday.

The Justice Department responded quickly to say it had an eye on the situation.

“The department is closely monitoring the situation,” spokeswoman Allison Pierce said Monday.

The US 6th Circuit Court announced at the weekend: “To allow a more reasoned consideration of the motion to stay, it is ordered that the district court’s judgment is temporarily stayed until Wednesday.”

The initial ruling was the fifth in recent months in which a ban has been declared unconstitutional, following TexasUtahOklahoma and Virginia.

Bishop Paul J Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo released a statement on the day saying: ”With the stroke of a pen, the meaning of marriage, one of society’s most sacred institutions and the very foundation of the family, has been redefined in our state.”