The decision by 75th District Court judge Michael Carpenter to stop ALL marriages in the 75th District Court in Midland to avoid having to marry same-sex couples sent a shockwave of outrage and disbelief throughout the country yesterday. What he did was legal in the technical sense because District Court judges are authorized, not required to perform marriages. However, given that they have performed this service in the 75th District Court and in basically all other Michigan District Courts basically forever, it is a de facto part of his job and pulling the trigger on this decision showed the true motives of this self-described “man of faith”.
As it turns out, Judge Carpenter isn’t the only judge working in the 75th District Court and his coworkers do not share his homophobic views. So, they are going to continue to hold weddings in their court. ALL weddings. Three of them – Trial Court Chief Judge Stephen P. Carras, Circuit Judge Michael J. Beale and Probate Judge Dorene S. Allen – released the following statement yesterday afternoon:
The people of Midland County elected us to uphold the Constitution and laws of this land,” begins the brief statement.
We will continue to fulfill that responsibility by making sure that people who want to get married are able to do so in their courthouse. To that end, be assured that the public can still go to district court to make wedding arrangements.
Weddings are a source of great joy and hope for the future, and our court is honored to help families grow and prosper in the community.
THOSE are the words of compassionate, caring, thoughtful members of the judiciary. What Judge Carpenter did was the act of a petulant, spoiled brat who, having not gotten his way, decided to take his ball and go home. Whether or not he was attempting to somehow prove that marriage equality is harmful to co-called “traditional marriage” or was simply planting his bigot flag in the sand no longer matters. Couples in Midland – ALL couples – who wish to be married in the court by a judge may continue to do so. Judge Carpenter, a man who is supposed to be fair and equal and thoughtful, will just have to suck it up and deal with it.
[CC image credit: Robert Couse-Baker | Flickr]