Michigan Governor to follow any court ruling on same-sex marriage

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The Republican Governor of the US state of Michigan has said he will follow a ruling in either direction on same-sex marriage in the state.

Not long after a judge declared Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional last week, 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 once more temporarily reinstated the ban.

Saying he has no personal position on the issue, Governor Rick Snyder said on Monday: “If a federal judge changes the law…then I’m going to follow what’s been redefined as the law.”

“So I am not spending time [on] the issue itself… Social issues, generally, I don’t take a position,” he continued. “I stay focused on jobs and kids.”

Going on he said he hoped the Court of Appeals, with which the decision now lies, will clarify the position for the 300+ couples who married in the state on Saturday.

He said: “Hopefully the Court of Appeals and their stay or something can clarify the status [of weddings] that took place in the interim. Those couples are in a tough spot. So I want to get some clarity.”

Snyder was quickly criticised by the Democratic Governors Association, which pointed out that he specifically said in 2010 that he thought marriage was between a man and a woman only.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett on Monday wrote a letter urging US Attorney General, Eric Holder to recognise the gay married couples in the state.

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.”

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.”