US: Michigan Attorney General argues for gay marriage ban ‘out of respect for democracy’

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The Attorney General of the US state of Michigan has pointed to a US Supreme Court ruling to uphold a ban on affirmative action in his arguments for a ban on same-sex marriage.

Last month the US Supreme Court upheld the state’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action, and now Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a brief saying the state should maintain its ban on same-sex marriage “out of respect for democracy.”

Voters in the state approved a ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying in 2004.

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.

Schuette’s appeal read: “This appeal is not about approval or disapproval of same-sex relationships or sexual orientation… Nor is this appeal about a gay or lesbian individual’s ability to be a parent. This case is not about single moms’ and dads’ ability to raise children. As a society, we wish that all children had loving parents, no matter what their sexual orientation may be… Out of respect for democracy and to be consistent with the restrained and limited role of a federal court judging the rationality of a legislative choice left to the people, this Court should reverse.”

Plaintiffs in the case have until June to respond to the state’s appeal.