CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Following Tuesday’s decision by Sixth Circuit staying the marriage equality ruling in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced that the 322 couples that legally married Saturday will have their rights suspended as the case proceeds:
After comprehensive legal review of state law and all recent court rulings, we have concluded that same-sex couples were legally married at county clerk offices in the time period between U.S. District Judge Freidman’s [sic] ruling and the 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporary stay of that ruling.
In accordance with the law, the U.S. Circuit Court’s stay has the effect of suspending the benefits of marriage until further court rulings are issued on this matter. The couples with certificates of marriage from Michigan courthouses last Saturday were legally married and the marriage was valid when entered into. Because the stay brings Michigan law on this issue back into effect, the rights tied to these marriages are suspended until the stay is lifted or Judge Friedman’s decision is upheld on appeal.
The same decision was made in Utah, where over a thousand same-sex couples married before the Supreme Court stayed the marriage equality decision there. The federal government and other states said that they would recognize those Utah marriages even if Utah doesn’t. A similar outcome is likely for Michigan’s marriages.
At least one couple that married in Michigan Saturday also filed their state taxes jointly while the window to marry was still open. It’s unclear if the state will recognize rights that were claimed while the amendment was not enforceable. The ACLU has already been preparing to file legal challenges on behalf of the “suspended” families as it has in Utah.