MI Governor: Michigan will respect 300+ March marriages between same-sex couples

Today, February 4, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that he would not be appealing a January 15 ruling that respected 300 same-sex Michigan couples' marriages.

The ruling was in the case Caspar v. Snyder, which was filed on April 14, 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on behalf of eight same-sex couples who received marriage licenses on the first day of the freedom to marry in Michigan. More than 300 couples received marriage licenses on March 22, after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The ruling was stayed later that afternoon, and although the federal government said that it would respect the Michigan marriage licenses for all purposes, Governor Rick Snyder said that the state would deny respect to the licenses as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals considered arguments in the original federal lawsuit.

On January 15, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that Michigan must respect the marriages of more than 300 same-sex couples who were married in March of 2014. The ruling was stayed for 21 days.

Governor Rick Snyder said of his decision:

The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples.

I appreciate that the larger question will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year. This is an issue that has been divisive across our country. Our nation’s highest court will decide this issue. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and it’s vitally important for an expedient resolution that will allow people in Michigan, as well as other states, to move forward together on the other challenges we face.

 On January 15, Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, applauded U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith's ruling:

Last March, 300 committed couples paid their fees, were issued marriage licenses, stood before family and friends, and got married. Unfortunately it took a federal court to get the state of Michigan to treat them as what they are: married. Too many other couples are still being denied the freedom to marry and full respect and equality under the law, in Michigan and other states, and action by the courts remains urgently needed. With marriage cases, including one out of Michigan, now before the Supreme Court, it is time for the justices to grant review and end marriage discrimination nationwide once and for all, without delay, and with no American family or state left behind.

Another case involving the freedom to marry in Michigan will be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court this spring. Read more about litigation in Michigan here.