Duly Noted . . .

Gov. Rick Snyder: State will not appeal court decision on 300 same-sex couples, married in March

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder said last week he will not appeal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling recognizing the validity of the approximately 300 same-sex couples married in four counties of Michigan on March 22, 2014 and issued the following statement:

“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.”

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, who was one of the three county clerks who made the decision to issue licenses allowing these couples to marry after the earlier court decision, made the following statement on Gov. Snyder saying the state will not appeal:

“I applaud Gov. Snyder for making the right decision and I am grateful that the court ruled in favor of equality.  Love has won today for the 300 same-sex marriages that took place last spring, affording these couples the rights they deserve, like all other families under the law. This is a critical step forward in our fight to secure the freedom to marry for all Michiganders.”

The state Attorney General’s office appealed to the Federal Sixth Circuit Court immediately after Judge Bernard Friedman had declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional last March. But due to timing, there was a gap before a stay was issued, and the 300 couples were married that weekend.

The other counties giving out licenses were Muskegon and Washtenaw. The governor had previously agreed to consider the marriages legal but not to grant the benefits given under the state law to married couples. The decision the state will not appeal mandates those benefits.