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