"Michigan Governor: The 300 Same-Sex Marriages That Took Place This Weekend Are ‘Moot’"
About 300 Michigan same-sex couples tied the knot this weekend during a short window before Friday’s marriage equality ruling was temporarily stayed. Because of that stay, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) believes those marriages are “moot,” though he won’t clarify whether or not it to legally recognize them.
Snyder spokeswoman Sarah Wurfel told the AP that the administration is simply not weighing in yet:
We are not saying that we aren’t or won’t recognize the marriages that happened on Saturday, but that we’re awaiting further court or legal direction on this complex, unusual situation… Either way, this can’t be construed one way or another as not recognizing the validity of the same sex marriages.
The order is stayed (at least until Wednesday), [so the] issue is moot at this point until resolved.
The question is not moot, however, for the couples who married and are unsure of the legal validity of their unions. One couple, Jennifer Chapin-Smith and her spouse, filed their state and federal taxes jointly on Saturday before the stay was issued. They were previously married in Maryland, so the federal government would have already recognized their union, but they also married Saturday in Michigan, so the state will have to decide whether their marriage there is valid — most likely well before the case is resolved in the courts. If the state is “awaiting” further development, it is arguably not recognizing the marriages int he interim.
In Utah, after 1,300 couples married before a Supreme Court stay of the marriage equality decision there, the state decided not to recognize the validity of those marriages. The federal government and several other marriage equality states said that they would, however, recognize those marriages. A separate suit is now playing out in Utah as those couples seek recognition while the case challenging the state’s ban proceeds.