US: Governor of Michigan trying to void 300 same-sex marriages, claims they ‘never existed’

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The Governor of Michigan is trying to void the marriages of more than 300 same-sex couples, who wed while marriage equality was briefly legal in the state.

US District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage in March, leading clerks in several counties to immediately start performing marriages.

The ban was put back into place after 300 couples had already married – leaving them in legal limbo pending appeal – until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban this week.

In new court filings yesterday, the state’s Republican governor Rick Snyder said that his administration will treat the marriages as if they “never existed”.

State lawyers wrote: “The Sixth Circuit’s decision in DeBoer affirmed the validity of Michigan’s Marriage Amendment, which states, ‘[t]o secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.’

“Now that the Sixth Circuit has reversed the district court’s decision in DeBoer, that condition cannot be met, and Plaintiffs’ marriages are therefore void.

“It is as if the legal premise upon which Plaintiffs’ marriages are based never existed.

“Consequently, from a legal standpoint, because the marriages rested solely on the district court’s erroneous decision, which has now been reversed, it is as if the marriages never existed, and Plaintiffs’ requests for benefits attendant to a legal marriage must be denied.”

The Sixth Circuit ruling is being appealed to the US Supreme Court, who are likely to take up the case as it creates a ‘circuit split’.