US: Michigan attorneys oppose request for full appeals court panel in gay marriage case

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Attorneys in the case which persuaded a judge to overturn Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban have opposed a request from the state’s Attorney General that the case should be taken up by a full 15-judge panel.

Last month US District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the state’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, a decision which attorney general Bill Schuette immediately appealed.

A stay was then put on the ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of appeals, leaving 300+ Michigan gay and lesbian couples who married in the interim in a legal limbo, pending the state’s appeal.

Rather than a three-judge panel for the appeals process, Attorney General Bill Schuette has requested the full 15 judges from the court, known as an ‘en banc’ hearing, to consider the case.

“This is a way to get a swifter, more thoughtful or complete review by all the judges,” Schuette said in a statement.

He claims it will save taxpayers’ money, as the full panel would be required later in the process anyway.

While attorneys want the case to move quickly, they urged the appeals court to use normal protocol and use a three-judge panel.