LGBT, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder — March 24, 2014

Snyder administration refuses to recognize marriages of same-sex couples, AG Holder urged to show federal support


Republicans on the wrong side of history yet again

Governor Rick Snyder is refusing to recognize over 300 same-sex marriages that took place on Saturday. None of the rights and privileges extended to heterosexual married couples will be given to these newlyweds as Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette pander to their homophobic base in an election year.

Unfortunately for them, they are on the wrong side of history and, more importantly, on the wrong side of the majority of Michiganders who support marriage equality.

The impact is already being felt:

There are a number of petitions that you can sign to urge our Republican Governor and his Attorney General to stop wasting taxpayer money on a fruitless effort to deny LGBT couples their civil rights and not appeal a federal judge’s ruling last week that our state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional:

  • Equality Michigan’s petition is HERE.
  • Democratic candidate Mark Schauer’s petition is HERE.
  • The Michigan House Democratic Fund’s petition is HERE.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to recognize the marriages even if our Republican administration will not. You can read their letter HERE.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s Attorney General has filed an Emergency Motion for Stay Pending Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit has directed the DeBoer plaintiffs to respond to this motion by 12:00 noon on March 25 and has further ordered that the district court’s judgment be temporarily stayed. These proceedings have unnecessarily and regrettably cast a pall of uncertainty over the legal status of the marriages entered into on March 22.

We are writing to request that you help lift this pall by declaring the aforementioned marriages, entered into prior to the issuance of the Sixth Circuit’s temporary stay, will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits. You took similar action to clarify the federal status of marriages entered into in Utah following the stay of a district court ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. We ask only that you do the same for Michigan couples.

Opponents to same-sex marriage claim that District Court Judge Bernard Friedman is an “activist judge” who overruled the will of the people. What they fail to realize is that the U.S. Constitution has in place a system of checks and balances that ensure that discrimination by the majority does not trample the rights of a minority — something referred to as “the tyranny of the majority”. Those who claim the judicial branch is being “activist” when they uphold the U.S. Constitution’s checks and balances are often the same people who wrap themselves in the Constitution to defend their own issues. Yes, tea partiers, I’m looking at YOU.

To complete the hypocritical irony circle, Judge Friedman was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Bill Schuette opens his reelection campaign this week, just a few days after a major defeat in the courts. His appeal will cost Michigan millions of dollars that could be spent on repairing our roads, bolstering our schools, or addressing the myriad problems facing our state. Instead, he and Governor Snyder are using their positions and the coffers of our state government to appeal to their homophobic base.

It’s shameful.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]

  • Ryan

    They are not on the wrong side of history… History voted to ban it in the first place. If the majority of Michiganders support it, then put it up to a vote again, but it’s not right to let one judge make the decision when the state voted against it in 2004.

    The correct and lawful way to go about this is to have a re-vote, not an over-ruling by one judge.

    • The ban has been determined to be unconstitutional by the judicial branch of the U.S. government. That’s the “system of checks and balances” kicking in. Sorry, but you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the U.S. Constitution we follow or don’t follow based on your dislike of the outcome.

      • MrSyn

        A stay has been issued until Wednesday. You’re stirring the pot a bit prematurely.

    • Aanna1123

      Re-vote on a persons civil liberties? It is very obvious you have no clue what this is about! You CANNOT vote on a persons rights! That vote in 2004 was illegal! Get educated

    • judyms9

      The majority of voters voted against Michigan becoming a Right to Work state and against Emergency Managers supplanting local elected officials too, but the Michigan legislature reversed both.

    • Carl Smith

      Do you not get what “unconstitutional” means? It means it goes against the Constitution, Fair and equal treatment and all that. Even if you put it to a vote again – and the very idea I can get a fair vote from people who hate me is ridiculous – and it passed again, it would STILL be unconstitutional. You’re being stupid.

    • kingdiamond

      Ryan do you mean like when history voted right to work down and the Republican legislators overturned it basically wiping their rears with our legitimate votes?

  • fectosroad

    If people have to pay taxes, then they should have access to all of the rights that the Constitution gives. How can some couples get married tax rates, while other couples not? Let everyone pay the same rates with no consideration for marriage, or accept that couples can be married in the eyes of the government. No one is telling a church that they have to allow gay marriages, but the government must offer equal benefits to all Americans.

  • kirk

    So, whats new,? Snyder is never going to listen

    • Carl Smith

      I know: hardly shocking, is it. He has his Hate Base he has to appease.

    • kingdiamond

      Not unless your a huge corporation or billionaire.

  • AJ Stowell

    is stupid. Of course they are legal all the way around. This is what
    happens when people run for reelection in a party controlled by the
    Religious Right in West Michigan. Be on the lookout for another lawsuit.
    What a joke.