LGBT — March 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

BREAKING: Federal judge rules that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional


Now can we just call it “marriage”?

In a huge victory for marriage equality, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled today that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:

IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As a sea change in public opinion on marriage equality is underway across the country, Michigan has remained mired in a bigoted, homophobic law passed a decade ago that no longer reflects the beliefs of a plurality of Michiganders.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, the heroic lesbian couple with three adopted children have scored a huge win against our homophobic Attorney General Bill Schuette who filed an emergency request to stay Judge Friedman’s ruling.

April DeBoer

Jayne Rowse

Coming on a Friday after 5 p.m., the ruling may stand until Monday, giving County Clerks like Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum an opportunity to marry gay and lesbian couples over the weekend. Schuette is fuming:

According to Schuette, Friedman did not follow the trend sent by other federal judges handling similar cases across the country, Judge Friedman did not stay his ruling pending the outcome of appeal.

Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer had this to say:

This is a major victory for loving, committed couples across the state. While I know there are differing views on this issue, I firmly believe every Michigander deserves equal protection under the law, and today’s ruling reaffirms this fundamental American value.

Michigan’s marriage equality ban hurts our economy by making it harder to attract highly-skilled workers and entrepreneurs. It’s time for Gov. Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to accept this ruling, and stop wasting Michigan taxpayer dollars on a costly appeal.

As Governor, discrimination will have no place in my administration. I’ll wake up every day focused on rebuilding our economy, and protecting the rights of all Michigan citizens.

You can sign a petition HERE to ask Governor Snyder to direct Attorney General Schuette NOT to appeal this ruling.

This is pure prose from East Lansing mayor Nathan Triplett:

Judge Friedman is the NINTH federal judge to strike down a discriminatory ban on marriage equality in the last three months. Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette are fighting a losing battle against the will of nearly 60% of their citizens. Their position is both morally and legally bankrupt. It’s time to let equality reign in Michigan and across America.

Equality Michigan issued this important statement:

This means that same-sex marriage IS LEGAL NOW! Many of the County Clerks offices are already closed for the weekend. Check with your local clerk immediately. Michigan’s Attorney General is already filing a motion requesting a suspension of Judge Friedman’s ruling – so this window may close in the next few days.

Visit our new Marriage Equality Center for information on:

  • If your county clerk is issuing same-sex marriage licenses
  • If you are interested in a faith-based wedding ceremony, information on clergy available to help perform your ceremony

If you are prepared to marry and your county clerk is issuing licenses, we encourage you to safely get to their offices as soon as possible. If you are a faith leader interested in helping couples perform ceremonies, we encourage you to safely get to the nearest county clerk that is issuing marriage licenses. Go to for more information on which county clerks are issuing licesnes immediately.

If your county clerk has not indicated if they will be issuing licenses, give them a call until they answer, and send us an email with their answer: [email protected]

If your county clerk is not issuing licenses, unfortunately you cannot get married in another county, so we encourage you to call them and lobby them to change their minds! You can find talking points and more information at:

The case will be appealed to the federal appeals court and will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States but, for tonight, we celebrate these two heroes, April and Jayne, and their stellar legal team who have surmounted this first major legal hurdle. If you wish to contribute to their legal fund — and I can’t begin to tell you how critically important that is — please visit and make a contribution today.

And now Anne and I are going to go raise a glass to April, Jayne, and their crack attorneys who have brought marriage equality to Michigan.

[Photos and graphics by Anne C. Savage]