Couple at centre of Michigan debate urge state to allow gay marriages immediately

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The couple at the centre of a debate around the US state of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, have argued that a temporary stay which blocked same-sex marriages from taking place, did not follow procedure.

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.

Attorneys acting on behalf of April DeBoer, and Jayne Rowse on Tuesday filed a response to the stay, arguing that the suspension of Judge Friedman’s Friday ruling was inappropriate.

They said that the state will not win an appeal against the ruling in the long-term, and so same-sex marriages should be allowed to resume immediately in the state.

Rowse and DeBoer originally sued the state in order to be able to adopt each others’ children, but the lawsuit soon turned to the issue of same-sex marriage in the state.

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 300+ gay married couples in the state who tied the knot on Saturday in the interim.

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.”

A ruling is expected as soon as Tuesday night on the case.