Appeal on gay marriage ruling dampens celebrations

Bethany Joy Rozeboom and Mary Winn couldn't have been much happier after receiving their long-awaited marriage license this weekend after a judge's ruling that Michigan's ban on such same-sex unions was illegal.
AP Wire
Mar 24, 2014

 

But the Grand Rapids couple and others across Michigan were still in a waiting game Monday to be recognized as legally married on state driver's licenses, voter registration records, Social Security cards and other documents because the ruling has been put on hold while the state appeals.

Some couples were able to file applications for adoptions and federal tax documents, but fear the process may be hampered by the legal tussle, while similar efforts at state offices were thwarted.

"I feel like it's been a constant yo-yo, even this whole weekend," Rozeboom said after being denied an application Monday for a new driver's license at a Michigan Secretary of State Office branch in Grand Rapids. "Walking out and having a legal marriage license that was signed by a clerk, we felt this is as official as it gets. This felt like we can be done now. But we can't be done now. Now what?"

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the state's 2004 law banning same-sex marriages on Friday while deciding a 2012 lawsuit by Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer. The couple is raising three adopted children with special needs, but couldn't jointly adopt each other's children because that was tied exclusively to marriage in Michigan.

On Saturday morning, four county clerks began issuing marriage licenses before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati issued an order reinstating Michigan's ban. Rozeboom and Winn took advantage of the brief legal window and had their marriage officiated.

The appeals court froze Friedman's decision until at least Wednesday, saying the time-out will "allow a more reasoned consideration" of the state's request to stop same-sex marriages.

Devin Schindler, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, said it's the first time a state law banning gay marriage has landed at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which takes cases from federal courts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The issue for the court this week is whether to indefinitely suspend Friedman's decision while the entire case is appealed.

"If the stay is granted, I would read nothing into it," Schindler said. "It would merely be the court saying we need more time to consider this important matter on the merits."

Meanwhile, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett on Monday urged the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages that were licensed Saturday as lawful and eligible for federal benefits. A Justice Department spokeswoman said officials were monitoring the case.

Employees at Secretary of State offices have been told not to accept applications to change names on driver's licenses from members of same-sex couples due to the appeals court stay, said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the secretary of state.

"Certainly, we'll comply with whatever the decision is and whatever the law is," Woodhams said Monday. "Over the weekend, when (Friedman's) decision was in effect, people could have changed their names with a same-sex marriage license. Due to the stay, we fell back."

Gov. Rick Snyder's spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said it's not "appropriate or prudent" to comment amid the legal proceedings.

"We await court or legal direction on this complex, unusual situation," she said. "We're sensitive to feelings on this issue and are hoping for a swift resolution for all involved."

Art and Corey Ledin-Bristol traveled from Grand Rapids to neighboring Muskegon County to get their marriage license because the Kent County clerk did not issue any Saturday.

A supervisor at the Social Security office in Grand Rapids accepted their application, but told them it would be put on hold. The couple of 11 years wasn't allowed to turn in applications for new driver's licenses.

"It was expected, but it's still very disappointing," Art Ledin-Bristol said. "I think we just really wanted to have them tell us 'no' to our faces, but we still held out hope they would let it go through. They are putting us in legal limbo."

Donna DeMarco and Lisa Ulrey got their marriage license at the Oakland County clerk's office in Pontiac and had their ceremony officiated by a non-denominational minister in the same building.

That hitch went off without a hitch. Getting their driver's licenses changed did not.

"We're not going to push it for right now, but we will eventually like to," said DeMarco, a marketing supervisor for a Detroit-area weight loss firm.

"Along with the name changes comes all of our financial documents, too; wills, beneficiaries. We basically refer to each other as our wife as much as possible. This kind of makes it official in our mind all of the time."

Updated voter registrations and insurance policies are also on hold, as are legal adoptions by same-sex couples.

Cheryl Pine turned in her application paperwork in Oakland County on Monday to join Jenny Stanczyk in adopting their two children. The couple became foster parents of the children four years ago, but Stanczyk was the only one legally allowed to adopt them a year later.

Pine said the staff was "incredibly and supportive and gracious" and accepted her application, but noted that nothing at the moment is clear.

"They said, 'We don't really know what's going to happen because this is all so new ... but you should hear from somebody within the next week or two,'" said Pine, who married Stanczyk in 2011 in Iowa and learned Saturday that it's "accepted and valid" by the county clerk's office in Michigan.

Stanczyk said getting the adoption squared away is the most important thing for them and updating information with tax, driver's license and voting information with state and federal offices is "secondary."

She said their adoption issue is the same that led to the lawsuit filed by DeBoer and Rowse.

"It was about equal rights for their kids," Stanczyk said.

Comments

skyking007

Some people don't care about equality. the same things happened with interracial marriage. These narrow minded people will just cause hardship for other and in the end will lose. They are killing Christianity because of their hate. The younger generation is leaving the church because the church no longer follows the teachings of Jesus like Love thy neighbor and do not Judge.

deepthink

skyking007 There are many of us who believe wholeheartedly in equality and civil rights, but also feel the LGBTQ and SSM movements have advanced their cause by falsely riding the coattails of legitimate social issues like racial and gender discrimination. Also, the "hate" of those "narrow minded people" in apposition (more false labels - lies) is not "killing" Christianity... nor are the younger generation leaving the church because it doesn't follow the teachings of Jesus. The church is shrinking because the younger generation is learning their morals from sources outside the home and church... sources that mislead with half-truths and outright lies. For example, you quoted/used several in your own statement. Jesus did tell us to love our neighbor. He also told us not to judge, but not for the purpose of giving carte blanche to sin. It's foolish (and completely contradictory to the teachings of the Bible) to think we shouldn't judge the poor actions of others. He told us not to judge others AND be hypocritical at the same time. If the church is guilty of anything, it's being too soft on this issue. Here's a prophetic quote from the Bible I think is spot on. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

skyking007

I agree to disagree with you. The church has stopped following Jesus on a number of issues. Mainly not helping the poor, sick and old. Who did Jesus hate? No one. For all have sinned.

deepthink

Jesus hates no one. I agree. All have sinned. I agree. Jesus hates sin and wants everyone to turn away from sin in every way. That would include not condoning sinful behavior with laws legalizing what is clearly sinful. Do you agree?

skyking007

So then there should be laws condemning sex before marriage, Divorce and adultery? Sounds like the middle east to me. You didn't mention helping the poor. God sent the son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

deepthink

I didn't mention not helping the poor because it is (in my opinion) irrelevant to the issue. You mentioned that as being a reason the young generation is leaving the church. That's rubbish. They are leaving the church because they either don't believe in God or they can't reconcile their selfish wants and desires with church teachings.

Also... We don't need laws prohibiting sex before marriage or adultery. People who do those things will suffer the consequences of their actions without legal intervention. Divorce (under some circumstances) is allowed in the Bible, therefor it would be non-biblical to completely outlaw divorce. Comparing denial of SSM to the Middle East? This is just another typical, yet absurd, response to the issue. In the Middle East, they execute people who do these things. How is not allowing SSM comparable to execution?

Lastly, you are just parroting the typical LGBTQ/SSM misuse of Scripture. Jesus came to save the world, but from what?!!! Sin. Jesus doesn't condemn. Men condemn themselves by their own actions. Since you sort of quoted Scripture, I will give the actual verse...in context. John 3:17-21 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

ChitownGH

"Also... We don't need laws prohibiting sex before marriage or adultery. People who do those things will suffer the consequences of their actions without legal intervention"

If you feel they will be punished without legal intervention, then why can you not say the same about SSM?

The problem with people like you is that all of your arguments are inherently flawed and you are too ignorant to realize it.

deepthink

I was comparing Middle Eastern punishment vs. the "punishment" (STDs, unwanted pregnancy,divorce, hurt children, etc.) or other negative externalities of premarital sex and adultery. Also, common sense (and law school 101) recognizes a civil license is a "formal approval" of whatever the license permits and is not equivalent to "no law prohibiting." SSM would involve a license (approval). That is why I wouldn't "say the same about SSM."

ChitownGH

With all due respect, and as a lawyer who has taken "law school 101," your post makes absolutely no sense. Everything you have touched on has received some type of formal approval. To get a divorce, you need a divorce decree. Sleeping with someone of the same sex - determined to be a Constitutional right as construed by the Supreme Court. Having an abortion - determined to be a Constitutional right as construed by the Supreme Court. You seem like a very uneducated and misinformed person. I pray your children know better.

deepthink

If you review the progression of this string, perhaps my comments would make more sense to you. You will see it began as a religious discussion. My original response was meant to counter commonly used false arguments and an often "misquoted" Bible verse. By "misquoted" I don't mean that the words are necessarily wrong. What I mean is the words are misused, out of context, incomplete, or any combination of those.

The conversation morphed into pseudo-law when skyking007 inferred that I somehow believe our laws should be more in line with the Middle Eastern system (sharia law - I have to assume). He/she also offered another misquoted Bible verse. This, I admit, irritated me a bit... and my comments reflected this. I apologize for that. Maybe I did a poor job of explaining my position, but I don't feel we need to make new laws about any of these issues. I added the "suffering the consequences" part in an attempt to provide a segue between the religious and law aspects of the discussion. You seemed to focus your attention on those particular comments.

You asked the question "If you feel they will be punished without legal intervention, then why can you not say the same about SSM?" I tried to answer...albeit apparently with unsophisticated language. The answer seems simple to me. Currently, you cannot get a license for a SSM in a number of states. Unless I am mistaken, the SCOTUS, unlike abortion and homosexual sex (which I never mentioned, but you have pointed out), has not yet declared SSM a civil right. The answer to your question then is: I don't say the same thing about SSM because that would require changes of law (in many states) or a change in opinion of the SCOTUS...both of which I would view as "formal approval" which I do not support.

ChitownGH

My point is that you are allowing religion to determine a civil rights issue. Religion should not be considered for any civil rights issue. This is about a determination if the Constitution allows those of the same sex to be married. The fact that your religious belief is anti-SSM, should have no bearing in this determination. As (like I mentioned) it has no bearing in other similar issues. You are also incorrect in stating that SCOTUS has not declared SSM a civil right. Marriage is considered a fundamental right under the due process clause. You may not be aware, but the Supreme Court has weighed in on this issue many times before. Most notably in the 1967 Case of Loving v. Virginia which dealt with an anti-miscegenation statute (no inter--racial marriages). The Court found this to be Unconstitutional, much like the current SSM statutes banning same. In fact, this case has been cited as precedent in many SSM Federal cases. The Supreme Court does not care if it is against your religious belief.

deepthink

I am well aware of the Loving vs. Virginia case. The thing I focus on is that in the opinion the SCOTUS stated that marriage was "fundamental to our very existence and survival." Heterosexual union IS fundamental to human existence. Homosexual union IS NOT. Additionally, the case referenced only the issue of interracial marriage. It had nothing to do with SSM.

Another (more appropriate) case you didn't mention was the Baker vs. Nelson case. A case way more in line with the current issue...where a homosexual couple sued the State of Minnesota because they wouldn't issue them a marriage license. They tried to bring the case to the SCOTUS on the basis it violated their civil rights under the 1st, 8th, 9th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. The SCOTUS dismissed the claim. Why? Because at the time it had no merit.

PRO SSM groups act like they already have the "Constitutional civil right" to marry. They don't. I have no illusions that it won't happen, but until it happens, I have a voice.

ChitownGH

Maybe so, but U.S. v Windsor has shown that it is only a matter of time. In Re Marriage Cases in California was dismissed for procedural reasons. Soon enough, a sound case will go to the Supreme Court.

The great thing about this country is you will always have a voice. I just don't understand why you feel the need to judge others.

Barry Soetoro

"I just don't understand why you feel the need to judge others."

How rich is that?

Freddo

By that argument, though, issuing a new marriage license to a divorcee, or to a person with a child born out of wedlock, is the state granting formal approval to that behavior. You should push to make remarriage illegal if you want any credibility.

Or perhaps we could acknowledge that religious beliefs are personal, and religious justifications alone are insufficient for deciding matters of public policy. This is not a Christian nation; the Founders said so directly in the Treaty of Tripoli, and the Constitution makes no mention of a deity of any kind except in the date. Judge if you like, but acknowledge that not everyone shares your religious values.

skyking007

I do not feel anyone should be punished for having sex before marriage. I was pointing out that if people attack gay marriage using the Bible they are picking and choosing what part of the Bible they follow. As for ignorance you have shown yours.

zwesterhouse

I can't see why any celebrations would be dampened. The same-sex group are always in the best of economic conditions. They get the best jobs, have the best perks, privileges, benefits of any worker in the work force. Look how easily they get nice vice president and CEO jobs just dropping into their laps. While the traditional family guy is over worked, underpaid, no respect. Most all skilled trades persons do not agree with any same sex lifestyle, and look at their miserable working conditions. Only same-sex people get the nicest promotions, teaching jobs, administrative jobs with summers off and lavish vacation packages. Skilled trades traditional family values guy gets grunge CNC machinist jobs, tool & Die, Welding, Heating/Cooling or ASE auto technician that are lousy with 50 to 80 hour work weeks right in the middle of summer. Not gays/lesbians - they have big boats at the marina's 3 vacation homes and lots time off to enjoy it. They all have very, very good here, better than in any middle eastern country.

skyking007

sounds like someone is jealous or misinformed. The real truth is a gay person is just like everyone else but with less hate. They work in restaurants, drive trucks, and play football. Who they chose to love is not your business or mine.

ChitownGH

Are you an idiot? Seriously, what is your IQ? My money is on 2.

Freddo

Zwesterhouse: I really, really hope you're just fake-trolling. There are plenty of places where gay people can be fired for no offense other than being gay, or suffer other forms of work discrimination. It is true that GLBT persons have higher incomes (on average), but they also have higher education, again on average. Then again, they also tend to live in cities, with higher costs of living.

Moreover, the idea that only straight people get machinist and trade jobs is absurd on its face. There are plenty of gay people in low-paying jobs, and most Fortune 500 execs are heterosexual.

LessThanAmused

Westerhouse....you receive the award for the most idiotic post of the month and the month ain't even over yet!

I'm not even a faint supporter of using the words "Gay" and "Marriage" in the same sentence and I find your comments so stupefyingly ignorant that I would volunteer to come to your house and give you a good whack upside your fat head in the hope it would loosen the clog that you are suffering from and which generated this post.

LessThanAmused

Hiccup.

GH55

Z-House, I did not realize that! I am going Gay today!

Perhaps the skilled trades folks are watching too much Fox News?

BTL2A

Eventually the church will come around and tweak their beliefs, like with evolution, to try and stay relevant.

deepthink

If by "the church" you mean the body of Christ...you are wrong. If you mean "the church" as in some organized religions...it's a biblical certainty. Some churches are already doing it. Please see my 2 Timothy quote above.

The Bible says this as well. 2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

ChitownGH

This is a blanket statement which could be applied and construed in many different ways. This quote is inherently flawed.

Lanivan

Actually, marriage equality/Same Sex marriage is just another social wedge issue being used to manipulate Christians into believing that:

1.) Tolerance of religious freedom, on which the Constitution is based, is wrong.

2.) The very Constitution is based on "God", and thus separation of Church and State is ungodly and unconstitutional.

3.) That legal challenges to Supreme Court rulings on Marriage Equality is justified because those challenges are based on Jesus' teachings.

Marriage equality and same sex issues are fodder for the network of a multitude of special-interest organizations of right-wing conservatives with an extreme theocratic agenda, many interested in Dominionism -

*Dominionists celebrate Christian nationalism, in that they believe the United States once was, and should again be, a Christian nation. In this way, they deny the Enlightenment roots of American democracy.
*Dominionists promote religious supremacy, insofar as they generally do not respect the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.
*Dominionists endorse theocratic visions, believing that the Ten Commandments, or "biblical law," should be the foundation of American law, and that the U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.

Of course, not all conservative Christians are Dominionists, but those who support Dominionism have been very vocal in pushing their more totalitarian vision.

It is also unconstitutional, as the Constitution was founded by men of differing religions, who went to great effort to produce a Rule of Law based on tolerance for freedom for all religions, who advanced a document that spoke to the Enlightenment, and a spirit of the separation of Church and State. There is no mention of "God" in the Constitution.

Conservative groups, such as the Freedom Federation, and those politicians who backed the Constitution Restoration Act of 2004-05, which was never passed, would pervert the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings that uphold the secular Constitution.

deepthink

I respectfully disagree. I'm sure there are individuals, groups and (maybe) even political parties that are using the issue for personal gain or to further their cause. Both sides are guilty of this. However, I would guess the vast majority of SSM opponents (including me) just want to maintain the "status quo." By that I mean we don't want to eliminate the freedom of religious expression...we just want marriage to remain what it always has been...between one man and one woman.

Freddo

Rubbish. Marriage has not "always been" between one man and one woman. Have you read the Bible? Witness King Solomon, with 700 wives and 300 concubines, and a man in touch with God. Consider the biblical command to marry your brother's widow if he dies.

The definition of marriage as between two and only two people is a development that arose only in the Christian church, and was not universally adopted, either. Martin Luther, for one, said that polygamy was justified by the Bible. Furthermore, rituals blessing homosexual unions were performed by the Church in the Middle Ages; that's a recorded fact.

You might also consider that well into the modern era, marriage was a contract based as much on the transfer of property (the woman) from one owner (her father) to a new owner (her husband) as anything else. The definition of marriage as being some sort of loving bond between two people is relatively recent.

So, if marriage can accommodate all of these changes, it should be able to expand enough to include gay and lesbian people who want to express their commitment to each other. If you don't like SSM, there's a simple solution: don't marry another person of your gender.

happycamper

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