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Federal judge rules Michigan must recognize existing same-sex marriages

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A federal judge has ruled in favor of same-sex couples who got married in Michigan when its ban was struck down. The decision holds that the couples have a right to recognition of their validly performed marriages: “The fundamental question in this case is whether officials of the State of Michigan are violating the United States Constitution by refusing to recognize the marital status of same-sex couples whose marriages were solemnized pursuant to Michigan marriage licenses issued in accordance with Michigan law in effect at the time of the marriages. This Court concludes that the continued legal validity of an individual’s marital status in such circumstances is a fundamental right comprehended within the liberty protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

This is true, the court says, even after the Sixth Circuit reversed the initial decision. The marriages were performed under a valid federal injunction.

The court issued a stay for 21 days, and ordered recognition of the marriages after that time: “Defendants shall afford all such couples all the protections and benefits as are mandated or authorized by Michigan law for all couples whose marriages are validly solemnized under Michigan law. This injunctive order shall bind Defendants, their agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any such persons. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(2). The effectiveness of this preliminary injunction is stayed for 21 days.”

The Supreme Court will take a second look at marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit tomorrow, and they’ll likely make a decision as to whether they’ll hear a case this term.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Excellent. Let this one work it's way through the appeals process while SCOTUS does its thing. The Utah case was never finally decided before SCOTUS declined cert and the issue went away.

  • 2. Jen_in_MI  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Pardon me for just a second – I AM SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED!!! I really AM married and could cry with joy. With my wife in the hospital now, the timing could not be better. I am confused about why there needs to be a stay, however. They seem so arbitrary lately, and this one only serves to extend unfairness to legally married couples.

  • 3. Zack12  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I believe the judge kindly told Sutton and Cook to take a long walk off a short pier.
    Let's hope they take him up on that and take the rest of the Federalist Society judges on that circuit with them.

  • 4. davepCA  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Jen, I thought of you and your wife the moment I saw this headline. I'm SO very happy for you!!!

  • 5. Fledge01  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

    This is one of the biggest cases on Marriage Equality yet. It will require SCOTUS to deal with the fact that when it comes time for it to review Michigan or some other marriage equality case, that at least one state has SOME same sex couples who are married, who will have filed their taxes jointly, will have been receiving other benefits AND that same one state also is preventing other similar couples from being treated the same. This is a whole new legal issue. No longer is it a matter of a states right to discriminate between same sex and straight couples. Rather, it is now a matter of a state that when Michigan chooses not to issue same sex marriage licenses it is treating two identical sets of citizens (both same sex couples) differently.

    This is the whole reason that either the entire country recognizes same sex marriages or they don't. It is absurd to think a same sex couple married in a state, such as Maine, where the legislature voted to allow the marriages and is thus out of reach of any potentially negative SCOTUS ruling, can be forced to move from state in the armed services and have their marriage invalidated. Hence, the recognition of marriages from other states is one of the strongest legal arguments on our side. But these scenarios, where people move in from another state, along with this ruling new ruling in Michigan, both create situations where states have to treat similar couples differently if they choose not to issue marriage licenses to their citizens. And this Michigan case rests on even stronger legal ground than the case where a married same sex moves in from out of state.

    It is so hard to take away a valid marriage once it has been recognized. This is why SCOTUS declined to hear the first set of appeals prior to the 6th's ruling. They knew once the genie is out, it can't go back in. This principle also applies to Ohio and Kentucky. This means that we can still achieve 100% of the country having marriage equality prior to SCOTUS taking its first case.

  • 6. guitaristbl  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

    This is a way for an Obama appointee of an overly liberal district apparently, if we look at the eastern district of Michigan, (not that that says anything – DeBoer got a Reagan appointee and we had the one fully trialed case and a great decision coming out of it) to say F@@k you to Sutton and Cook. Got to love it. Of course the 6th would most likely reverse this one as well if it had the time to do so. It would be even better(or worse) if Sutton was again on the panel here. But hopefully the case will be moot long before it is even heard by the 6th.

    Good job judge Goldsmith !

  • 7. TDGrove  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I agree that married should mean married, Jen. The judge gave the state 21 days to appeal, presumably to lessen the number of times you become married, then unmarried, then married again. In my mind, it is nothing but spite that causes Michigan to fight these cases. Even if they want to continue fighting DeBoer, spending this much money and effort to harm 600 people with no benefit to the rest of the state is animus at its un-finest.

  • 8. hopalongcassidy  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Not only in the armed services, but an employee of any sort including private companies that relocate or require some or all of their workers to do so. It's just patently absurd, irrational, unfair and ridiculous, not to mention grossly UNconstitutional to expect lawfully married couples to suddenly become unmarried in a different state. It is not conceivable to me that the SC would permit that…even one heavily tilted to the 'right' (the left is right and the right is wrong).

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I believe Snyder will appeal and ask for the 6th to extend the stay and the 6th will grant his request. This will be the unfortunate truth. Snyder knows he has a major vehicle for SCOTUS review so for strategic reasons he cannot show any weakness or show that he backs down even a little bit by allowing these marriages to be recognized I think.

  • 10. Zack12  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Indeed, but he also can't show any animus either.
    As for the 6th, I don't think they will have any problem granting a stay.

  • 11. guitaristbl  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I don't think him asking for a stay here would amount as animus to be considered by SCOTUS. He has the ruling from the 6th in his hands to legitimize any action concerning these marriages. Now if he sings a "religious freedom" bill…That's another thing. I don't think these bills will get far in most legislatures until SCOTUS rules. After SCOTUS rules (hopefully in favour of ME) the kraken will be unleashed nationwide (or at least at the republican legislatures – which are a strong majority unfortunately. And with 23 republican trifectas things become even harder).

  • 12. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Unfortunately, I agree. During the months while SCOTUS is considering the 6th Circuit decision, MI has to keep arguing that the 300 marriages should not be recognized in order to have any chance of disavowing them if the 6th decision is upheld.

    Personally, I have always thought there is no way to invalidate a marriage that was legal at the time it was performed, but it would be nice to have an appeals court decision to back that up. The 300 couples in MI (and anyone else who is still in the same situation) deserves to have this uncertainty go away, if possible without having to wait for SCOTUS to resolve ME. It's a separate question from a state's ban on either celebration or recognition. These marriages exist, regardless of what the ultimate outcome is.

  • 13. Tony MinasTirith  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Awesome Sauce! I must say, I've become addicted to reading (almost daily) good news on EoT. The next news I hope to read her soon (within weeks) is that the 5th has overturned Louisiana and had upheld the lower courts in Texas and Mississippi with only a temporary stay to allow the defendants opportunity to apply to SCOTUS. Then, SCOTUS, with the stay issue referred to the full court by Scalia is DENIED and marriages equality is now in 39 states plus the DC!…all in time for St. Patty's 😀

    Then next Blondi of Florida announces that she will stop all the states appeals in state courts and the 8th circuit because it's time to accept the decision of the courts and the state has no further arguments. She knows she will ultimately and utterly lose and not only lose for Florida…if she presses the 11th to rule, she also causes the 11th CA to shoot the tires out of Alabama's and Georgia's bans as well. She knows if she presses on she will bring ME to Florida, Georgia and Alabama all in one fell swoop.

    Then of course, perhaps in the next 72 hours we'll hear that SCOTUS is taking up a case from the sixth (probably Michigan if not all 4), and by June, if not sooner, we'll have ME from sea to shining Sea, across Amber Waves of Grain, across Purple Mountains Majesty and the fruited plains! And only after only 43 years… or 239 years depending on how you frame the question.

    None of this would be possible at this time, without Reagan appointed Kennedy. So besides all the brave couples fighting for ME, the lawyers, the judges who have ruled fairly, we have a Reagan and a Kennedy to thank. Whod'a thunk.

  • 14. Tony MinasTirith  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Congratulations, again, to you and your wife. Hope she gets better soon, so you can now enjoy your happily ever after.

  • 15. DACiowan  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I'm hoping to see the Missouri stay lifted next, then clarification in Kansas.

  • 16. Tony MinasTirith  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Yes. More good news, the better! Don't know what I'm gonna do when the Fat lady has sung and SCOTUS has swept all discriminatory marriage bans into the dust bin of history before the 4th of July! I guess I'll just have to spend the time I used reading good news, finding and watching the tons and tons of flash mob proposals and same sex weddings on you tube.

    That should say above: (next Blondi of Florida announces that she will stop all the states appeals in state courts and the 11th circuit…) Getting too excited w/all this good news, I'm getting my circuits crossed!

  • 17. guitaristbl  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:40 am

    We are talking about the 6th. We should be thankful they won't have the time to rule on this issue or you would see a way on how to invalidate a marriage with Sutton's blessings (he would even go to those couples' homes demand to tear apart the marriage certificates himself with Cook making sure she throws the pieces to a shredder as well to make sure they cannot be stuck together in any way).

  • 18. Rick55845  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for that analysis and opinion, Fledge. I think you're right about the strength of this argument.

    Can you expand on this?

    "This means that we can still achieve 100% of the country having marriage equality prior to SCOTUS taking its first case."

    Are you thinking that there will be time for cases like this to complete, including appeals through the circuit courts and SCOTUS, before SCOTUS rules on an ME case that they will almost surely grant cert on tomorrow?

    Once SCOTUS rules in favor of ME performance and recognition, which I think they will do, and I think they will announce in June, then won't cases like become moot?

  • 19. Tony MinasTirith  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Is it possible, when this decision gets appealed to the 6th, that it will be heard by a different panel? (And that a new panel isn't somehow bound by November panel?)

  • 20. Rick55845  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

    We will all heartily celebrate when the marriage bans are done for good.

    What we'll do next, I'm quite sure, will be to fight all the religious-belief based discrimination-exception laws and laws aimed at stopping state employees from performing their jobs on our behalf. Several such laws have been proposed in various states, and I'm sure many more are in the pipeline. Hopefully most of them won't pass, but it won't surprise me if some do.

    Bottom line, gaining ME will be a tremendous victory for us in our fight to treated equally. But it won't be the end of the war.

  • 21. sfbob  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    To paraphrase a bit, the haters we will forever have with us. If they definitively lose on the marriage equality front directly they will come back at us in the "religious 'freedom" (I think "religious entitlement" or "religious privilege" would be more accurate) front and on the "making the court decision impossible to enforce" front. And even before any of this is done we'll need to focus on workplace and public accommodations discrimination and on anti-transgender discrimination. There's always going to be plenty to keep us busy.

  • 22. RLsfba  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Religion on our side. This looks like a new case from Michigan that is similar to the UCC case in NC. I can't wait until I see religion on trial. We could well have religion fighting religion, oh wait…we have that now anyway.

  • 23. Fledge01  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

    No, what I'm saying is that: assuming SCOTUS takes a case this year, there will be time for other federal judges in Ohio and Kentucky to rule the same way the Michigan federal judge did, before SCOTUS will have a chance to make a ruling. I am also assuming that there will NOT be enough time for any of these potential cases, including this new one today from Michigan, to be appealed and heard by the 6th before (and potentially overturned by the 6th) before SCOTUs gets its case.

    As it stood yesterday, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky would be three states without marriage equality if SCOTUS took a case this year. As of today, Michigan in not in that camp, and there is time for Ohio and Kentucky to slip in on the scale of states WITH same sex marriage before SCOTUS rules (but only if SCOTUS rules before the 6th can undue what a Michigan federal judge (and potentially Ohio and Kentucky) just did.

    I don't know the timing on other state federal cases such as the Dakotas but I think there is potential for everybody to have voiced in before SCOTUS actually rules. And I hope future cases in the docket look at SCOTUS's recent upholding stays and those cases are not afraid to make a favorable ruling without a stay, even at a point that is after SCOTUS grants cert to some case but before it issues its ruling.

  • 24. Zack12  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Indeed, Judy Gold has brought that point up again and again.
    Many same sex couples don't have the luxury of choosing what state they want to live in because of their jobs.
    The idea they can get their marriage nullified because of that is absurd.

  • 25. Elihu_Bystander  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Remember Nebraska can only be a daily double with a unicameral legislature.

  • 26. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I think it's a completely different question: when does a decision have legal effect? To me it's simple binary logic –

    decision not stayed = in effect
    decision stayed = not in effect

    It shouldn't matter what the subject of the decision is; it could be a decision as to who owns a piece of land. Requesting a stay is procedural, and granting or denying a stay is procedural. So it would get its own panel, I would think.

  • 27. Tony MinasTirith  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:40 am

    The only thing I don't like about this new case is the plaintiff, (i believe i read), is also arguing for the right to perform (and apparently have the govt recognize) poly-amorous weddings. I don't like polygamy being conflated with the constitutional right to marry. It's a separate issue and stands or falls on it's own merits. We don't need any religious zealouts saying see…"we told you so!" First comes same sex marriage and along with it polygamy. If they want to fight for it in the courts, that's their right, but I don't see the Supreme Court recognizing their right in my life time. The zealots have used the slippery slope to polygamy argument since the beginning. I'm glad to see judges now calling out this red herring logical fallacy in court.

  • 28. wes228  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    It would go to a new panel (although any of the judges on the previous panel could by chance wind up on that one), but that panel would be bound by the 6th Circuit's previous ruling.

  • 29. guitaristbl  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Not much comfort in that though.

  • 30. F_Young  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I would have preferred if the minister had not added polygamous marriages to his suit claiming the right to perform same-sex marriages.

  • 31. Elihu_Bystander  |  January 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Go back and read the plaintiff's/appellee's reply brief opposing the stay in Evens v. Herbert. There were numerous citations to support exactly what you are saying.

  • 32. Rick55845  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the clarification. It was the "100% of the country having marriage equality" prior to a SCOTUS ruling part that caused me to ask. That is because there are several states in the 8th and 11th (and territories like Puerto Rico) that I think won't have ME until SCOTUS rules, and also because marriage recognition and marriage performance are slightly different issues.

    Anyway, I follow what you're saying, but I'm still not sure about the 100%.

  • 33. 1grod  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:03 am

    DA – would not this ruling be of immediate assistance to Judge Daniel Crabtree: Since his November ruling, all marriages of same sex couples are validly solemnized, but RECOGNIZED by only 1 departments of Kansas' government. Licenses are issued in 56/105 counties – these counties comprise 80%of the state's population.
    pg 12: "To state the obvious: two people whose marriage was validly solemnized, but who are not permitted to enjoy any of the benefits or rights of married people, are unquestionably the functional equivalent of unmarried people. There is no question that Defendants’ refusal to recognize the marital status of persons lawfully married pursuant to Michigan marriage licenses issued under Michigan law — as that law stood at the time the marriages were solemnized — is entirely unprecedented."

  • 34. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

    So, Schuette appeals the 21-day stay to the 6th and the 6th extends the stay pending appeal. In the meantime, SCOTUS grants cert to MI.

    What stops the MI Plaintiff's who were married from going to SCOTUS and requesting the stay be denied? I don't how this hurts the ME strategy/efforts since we are in the bottom of the 9th inning. Jen's legally executed marriage needs to be recognized by MI now and not this June.

  • 35. Zack12  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

    I agree, they are two seperate issues and him joining them together plays into the card so many of these bigots like to pull.

  • 36. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

    All part of the process. But there should be no reason to hold this case while SCOTUS hears the 6th Circuit ME appeal. It would only be moot if SCOTUS overturns the 6th. The 300 couples are still entitled to an answer if the 6th is upheld, and they shouldn't have to wait for it.

  • 37. weaverbear  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    I so understand how you feel and where you are Jen. We didn't know if Prop 8 invalidated our marriage for almost 7 months after the ballot. The California Supreme Court held that Prop 8 was legal under the California state constitution, but that the marriages that had happened were still legal.

    My prayers for you and yours; May she be well and out of the hospital soon.

  • 38. DACiowan  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I would think so, although the drawn out pace in the Kansas case is making me think the judge is in no hurry to actually make the state treat these couples correctly. Iirc the judge is asking both sides for a briefing schedule on recognition — and the schedules are due at the end of the month!

  • 39. JayJonson  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    FledgeO1, I don't think you understand Judge Goldsmith's ruling. Nothing in his ruling requires Michigan to recognize any marriages other than the 300 or so performed in the window before a stay was issued after the district court ruling in DeBoer.

    It has no relevance to Kentucky, Ohio, or Tennessee because none of those states are in the same position that these Michigan couples are in. Judge Goldsmith does not require any state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state, nor does it require Michigan to permit same-sex marriages. He only requires Michigan to recognize the validly performed marriages in Michigan.

    There is no way this ruling could lead to marriage equality nationally this year. The only way that will happen is if SCOTUS grants cert to one of the marriage cases on its docket tomorrow.

    This is an important ruling and Judge Goldsmith speaks eloquently about both the tangible and intangible value of marriage, including marriage between same-sex couples. I think it is clear that he views marriage a fundamental right for same-sex couples no less than opposite-sex couples, but that is not the question before him, and in any case he would be preempted from making such a ruling by the Sixth Circuit opinion in DeBoer, by which he is bound. The ruling is significant because it clearly validates legally entered into marriages; but it does not have the scope that you are claiming for it.

  • 40. RnL2008  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Congratulations Jen……..this is a very important ruling and one that should hold up… I was posting on another site, there are just two choices for Michigan to do…..either RECOGNIZE all out of state marriages or DON'T recognize ANY out of state marriages……and how long do you think heterosexual couples will tolerate that garbage when it might mean they will lose their federal recognition as well…….not a wise position for Michigan or ANY State to try and do!!!

  • 41. scream4ever  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Presumably all the briefs will be in by the end of February and a ruling will be handed down shortly thereafter.

  • 42. Randolph_Finder  |  January 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I'd pay good money to watch Snyder sing "religious freedom" wouldn't want him to sign it though… :)

  • 43. DACiowan  |  January 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Yeah. I wish we could get another Hinkle who issues a clarification within days of trouble arising. The Kansas case is more indicative of the speed of our judicial system, but it is chafing to think of a ruling going into effect in November taking until late February or even March to be fully respected.

  • 44. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    For anyone who would like or needs a quick brush-up before tomorrow's pending SCOTUS decisions, here is Chris Geidner's article that also contains his thoughts on what SCOTUS may do:

    "The Supreme Court Is Likely To Set Up The Same-Sex Marriage Showdown On Friday – A Guide. "

  • 45. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I was implying the same strategy as you stated. Sorry, if I wasn't clear. Assuming SCOTUS certs MI, the Plaintiff's should go to the 6th ASAP. If the 6th denies them, appeal to SCOTUS ASAP. I don't see what there is to loose since this is about recognizing marriages that were legally performed, not future marriages.

  • 46. Fledge01  |  January 15, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I fully understand the scope of the ruling. You are right in what this ruling directly requires of whom. And yes it only implicates directly those in Michigan who were married in that window before the 6th overturned the lower court.

    However, I think this ruling is perhaps one of the most important rulings so far in that any other future ruling, by the 6th or SCOTUS, will have to address this new issue where there are couples that have already been married, and because of that marriage, their lives have directly become entangled with many other legal situations such as taxes and probate. (Will SCOTUS tell the IRS it has to give back the tax refund it might have given these couples come April? Does it tell a land owner it has to give back its land it acquired in a state probate process? Do these marriages become invalidated by the 6th or SCOUTUS? If not, there now exists a new legal issue that has not yet been raised, that is the issue of two same sex couples being treated unequally in the same state.

    I only mention the other states in the 6th in that federal judges for those states can be persuaded (though not bound) by this new Michigan ruling.

    You are right that Goldsmith did not rule on the fundamental right of marriage and only ruled on the validity of the previous marriages. However. It is extremely important to note that the 6th has not ruled on the validity of any of the previous marriages that occurred in that window in the 6th. Therefore, it is possible that every state in the 6th will have valid same sex marriages in its state just as Michigan now does today (regardless if they have a ban in place on issuing new licenses).

    This inequality among two different sets of same sex couples in the same state offers a very compelling argument to put before SCOTUS; which I assume will here a marriage equality state before the 6th has a chance to overturn today's ruling by Goldsmith.

  • 47. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    But it's the state that has to appeal here, no? And I would expect them to take the full time allotted to them.

  • 48. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Duh…of course. Trying to multitask too much today.

  • 49. franklinsewell  |  January 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Congratulations. My husband is in the hospital here in Nevada, and we haven't had to deal with any craziness. Our marriage is recognized and valid, so I'm glad yours is on the way to being so, too.

  • 50. DrBriCA  |  January 15, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I'm still not sure what you mean. Michigan is the only state in the 6th that briefly allowed marriages after a district ruling. Arkansas, which is in the 8th, is the only other state with this scenario from a state court ruling.

    Ohio and Tenn were recognition-only cases, so no new marriages ever happened, and Kentucky was immediately stayed with the Love v Beshear decision. (Kentucky does now have a same-sex couple legally divorced, but that's a completely different story.) There are no previous OH, TN, or KY weddings for each respective state to be compelled to recognize via a new lawsuit. And those three states would not have to recognize the 300 MI marriages since their own overall recognition bans are still in place.

    Now, I do agree that having Michigan recognize 300 marriages with same-sex couples while they ban all other couples would be a compelling point in the upcoming SCOTUS hearing (fingers crossed it's scheduled tomorrow!). But even that requires the optimistic hope that the 21-day stay will not get extended by the 6th if/when the state requests it. There's still a very possible chance that Michigan may request an extension on the stay and that the 6th will grant it. It's unknown how SCOTUS would then proceed if plaintiffs appeal a stay extension… SCOTUS agreed with the 11th in not staying Florida's decision recently, but it did stay the similar Evans decision while Kitchen was making its way to the Sept conference.

  • 51. JayJonson  |  January 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    FledgeO1, Judge Goldsmith makes a compelling argument that a legally valid marriage cannot be rescinded by the state, one that I think would also be upheld even at the Sixth Circuit. The same argument was endorsed by the California Supreme Court in Strauss, and by the federal judge in the Utah case over those marriages entered into before Kitchen was stayed.

    However, Judge Goldsmith's ruling is likely to have no relevance at all to the cases that SCOTUS will hear about whether state bans are unconstitutional and/or whether states are bound to recognize marriages legally performed in other states.

    The only way this case could conceivably affect a SCOTUS ruling would be if SCOTUS ruled against us, finding that there is no fundamental right to marriage. Only if it does that would SCOTUS have to confront the question of what to do about marriages that have been performed as a result of court rulings that have invalidated bans on same-sex marriage. If SCOTUS finds Judge Goldsmith's reasoning convincing, it would say that those marriages legally entered into as a result of a court order must be recognized. But that would be very cold comfort if it said that as it upheld the Sixth Circuit ruling and thereby provided the blueprint for reinstating state bans on same-sex marriage.

    You ask, " Will SCOTUS tell the IRS it has to give back the tax refund it might have given these couples come April? Does it tell a land owner it has to give back its land it acquired in a state probate process? Do these marriages become invalidated by the 6th or SCOUTUS? " The answer is probably not.

    As far as the "the issue of two same sex couples being treated unequally in the same state," that issue was not only raised at the California Supreme Court, but also in Hollingsworth, to little effect. IIRC, Judge Rheinhardt mentioned the anomaly of having two classes of same-sex couples in California in his Ninth Circuit opinion, but it was not considered a crucial issue. (The California Supreme Court seemed content to have two classes of same-sex couples, but they did so in furtherance of the fiction that the difference between marriage and domestic partnership was simply a disagreement about a word.)

  • 52. RQO  |  January 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    This is not a small thing as all these states try yo-yo's, appeals, and general attempts to get back to banning us to hell again given the opportunity. They have to live by the law, just as they are proposing, but it's not mob law. And perhaps this is instructive to SCOTUS that they'd better go with the vast flow of federal court rulings or all hell is going to break loose in state legislatures (and streets?) across the country if they get coy and don't firmly establish ME.

  • 53. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I'm done

  • 54. Fledge01  |  January 15, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for those cases you mention. I will look into them. But it is still useful to note that SCOTUS asks and considers questions about how their rulings would play out in the real world. Many people think the courts only rule on what the law is. However, what the law is can be murky and thats when courts look for the pros and cons socially and practically of various rulings.

    I think SCOTUS will look ahead and realize that if they allow Michigan to have a ban on same sex marriages because they recognize a difference between straight and gay couples, they will ultimately have to overturn themselves when someone sues to get married not on a fundamental right to get married issue but on an unequal treatment between similar people issue. I think SCOTUS will see that this hodge podge of bans in different states and especially the differences within the same state like Michigan now, they will see that allowing states the right to decided is not workable in the end

  • 55. 1grod  |  January 15, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    DA: Since the November decision, 56 counties are issuing licenses, 21 not, and 28 remain undetermined. That 56 has increased over time. Perhaps Judge Crabtree hopes even more counties (judicial districts) will be on board by the time his final ruling is made. It's unlikely the Governor is happy with the level of participation currently achieved or with the repeated whacking the Governor of Michigan and company received today through the pen of Judge M. Goldsmith.

  • 56. VIRick  |  January 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    "…. but on an unequal treatment between similar people issue."

    Judge Friedman's original decision in "DeBoer v. Snyder," striking down Machigan's ban on same-sex marriage, was issued very late in the day on Friday, 21 March 2014, and was not issued with a stay.

    Of Michigan's 83 counties, 4 different counties ((Ingham (Lansing), Muskegon (Muskegon), Oakland (Pontiac), and Washtenaw (Ann Arbor)) re-opened their court clerk's office for business on Saturday, 22 March 2014 (outside the regular Mo-Fr routine), and began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In the 1-day interim before the Stay was issued by the 6th Circuit Court, late the same day, 22 March 2014, at least 323 couples in those 4 counties availed themselves of the ability to get married.

    Couples in the remaining 79 counties of Michigan were unable to avail themselves of the same right during that brief interval.

  • 57. davepCA  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:27 pm


  • 58. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Sorry, Dave…I know this isn't the place but I've had a very bad day.

  • 59. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Jen, we all miss you and have been thinking about you and your wife. I wish the decision wasn't stayed your your sakes. I hope your wife is healing and getting relief from any pain.

  • 60. davepCA  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Sorry to hear that, WoRF. I can't offer anything specific but we sure do appreciate your participation here and I hope things improve soon.

  • 61. sfbob  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Gotta second that Dave.

    I can offer WoRF a digital hug {{{Wolf of Raging Fires}}}

    but concretely what is there to say in the digital world other than, like davepCA, I appreciate WoRF's participation and I hope it's just temporary overwhelm.

  • 62. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for the hug, Bob. I need a lot at the moment.

  • 63. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you, Dave. I've had a shock to my system today. Somehow it will all work out. I just don't know when or how.

  • 64. davepCA  |  January 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Until it works out, here's something to distract you:

  • 65. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    That was so adorable!!

  • 66. RnL2008  |  January 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Does Wolf need a hug? Here's a big hug from me……I had one of those days yesterday……trust me, I truly understand……if you look at my profile, you can reach me at that e-mail address:-)

  • 67. David_Midvale_UT  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Before Kitchen v. Herbert was resolved (such as it is) at least one "high tech" company made a BFD about not wanting to even consider opening a new site in Utah because of the state's record on LGBTQ discrimination.

    HATU is bass ackwards business unfriendly because of other Mormon-related nonsense. Many national chain restaurants won't open more locations in Utah because of the ludicrous liquor laws (mixed drinks cannot be poured where restaurant patrons can view the preparation—many chains use floor plans where these is a central bar area, but they have to move drink preparation to a separate room, or put it behind a high partition, the so-called "Zion's Curtain"; "happy hour" drink specials are illegal) and the scarcity of liquor service licenses.

  • 68. David_Midvale_UT  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    The next fight is government-sanctioned bigotry wrapped in a tissue of lies concerning religious freedom.

  • 69. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Virtual hug. RNL2008 has my e-mail address. Write me if I can help.

  • 70. brandall  |  January 15, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I spent an hour today reading up on the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in preparation for the post ME battles! Very interesting. Much more to read and learn.

  • 71. VIRick  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Off topic:

    Thailand to Recognise Third Gender

    Thailand’s new constitution will include references to a third gender for the first time. A spokesman for the panel which is drafting the new constitution, Kamnoon Sittisamarn, said this was to ensure all sexual identities would be protected and treated equally under the law. He said, “We are putting the words ‘third gender’ in the constitution because Thai society has advanced. There are not only men and women. We need to protect all sexes. We consider all sexes to be equal.”

    Thailand is famous for having a large and vibrant LGBT community, particularly trans and gender non-conforming people. It allows trans people to change their legal gender, but does not currently allow same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage was discussed in 2012, with legislation being drafted, but was put on hold as the country struggled with political instability.

  • 72. RnL2008  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:41 pm


  • 73. Raga  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    "Defendants’ notion that Plaintiffs’ marriages were somehow “conditionally valid,” is made out of whole cloth. There is nothing in the record to indicate that the marriage licenses that Michigan county clerks issued to Plaintiffs contained any language that was conditional."

    Now we have a Heyburn-Goldsmith combo-quote: "These arguments are not those of serious people and are made out of whole cloth."

  • 74. F_Young  |  January 16, 2015 at 1:10 am

    How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage
    by Elizabeth Dias

  • 75. DACiowan  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:05 am

    The cynic in me wonders if this is a carrot to the progressive element in Thailand, as this constitution is drafted by the current military junta and contains harsher limits on freedom of speech, assembly, and such. Thailand is not in a good place right now, politically.

  • 76. F_Young  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Today is likely to be a REALLY BIG DAY.

    Which page(s) should we be constantly refreshing today, apart from EoT?

  • 77. DACiowan  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:21 am

    I'll be keeping an eye on SCOTUSBlog, Twitter, and the Supreme Court's orders page.

  • 78. F_Young  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:26 am

    What is the URL of the SCOTUS orders page? Which Twitter feed do you recommend?

    I expect that the official news will only come out this afternoon. When should we start refreshing?

  • 79. DACiowan  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:32 am

    The orders page is

    For Twitter, @EQCF (Equality Case Files)and Freedom to Marry are good at catching any legal news and any reaction from the couples/local groups, respectively.

    As for timing, I am not completely sure. Around noon Eastern Time?

  • 80. DaveM_OH  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Specifically on twitter, @chrisgeidner and @lyleden, and #SCOTUS.

  • 81. Steve27516  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Sending you best wishes, Wolf!

  • 82. DaveM_OH  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Noon would be early, but possible. More likely around 2p EST. E.g. @lylden's tweet last Friday was at 2:02 PM – 9 Jan 2015

  • 83. Rick55845  |  January 16, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Lyle Denniston will likely also post something on his eponymous blog:

    The link above is for his blog on the ruling that is the subject of this topic on EoT.

  • 84. Sagesse  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:18 am

    Thanks. I'm going to read the whole article to take my mind off waiting :).

  • 85. JayJonson  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:22 am

    So sorry to learn of your distress, Wolf of Raging Fires. I hope you know how much you are valued here. Best wishes that everything will work out well.

  • 86. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Thank you both. I appreciate it.

  • 87. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:53 am


  • 88. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Yes… :(

  • 89. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 16, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Thank you very much, Jay. <3

  • 90. F_Young  |  January 16, 2015 at 8:45 am

    A fascinating article to read, while the clock ticks:

    Being Gay, Being Buddhist
    by George Takei

  • 91. Equality On TrialMichigan&hellip  |  February 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    […] governor, Rick Snyder, has announced that the state will not appeal a district court judge’s ruling that paved the way for recognition of around 300 existing same-sex marriages in the […]

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