U.S. recognizes Michigan same-sex marriages

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court put those unions on hold.
AP Wire
Mar 28, 2014
Holder's action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who married Saturday, which means they can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.
 
The attorney general said the families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their benefits while courts decide the issue of same-sex marriage in Michigan. Holder did the same thing in Utah, where more than 1,000 same-sex couples got married before the U.S. Supreme Court put those unions on hold in January after a federal judge overturned the conservative state's same-sex marriage ban in December.
 
Holder's decision came a week after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Detroit struck down the gay marriage ban and two days after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder called last weekend's marriages legal but said Michigan won't recognize them.
 
Snyder told reporters following an unrelated bill signing in Lansing that Holder's actions weren't a surprise "because of the situation in Utah and the position he took there."
 
However, it does "create more complexity," Snyder said. "... I'm sure we'll get a number of questions that we'll need to sort out about between the interrelationship of state and federal law."
 
Michigan needs to recognize that times are changing, said Donna DeMarco, whose reaction to Friday's federal recognition was: "Cool."
 
DeMarco and Lisa Ulrey were among the dozens of couples who married Saturday in Oakland County, northwest of Detroit.
 
"The federal government is making great strides with recognizing same-sex marriage," DeMarco said. "It's time for Michigan to get out of its prehistoric age and get with the times. When you have a state government that's full of hate and straddles political lines and doesn't recognize that people are people, it affects a lot of people."
 
DeMarco said she and Ulrey have not yet applied for joint Social Security benefits.
 
"I guess we can now," she said, adding that the couple will jointly file federal taxes next year.
 
Oakland County was one of four that took the extraordinary step of granting licenses Saturday just hours before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ordered a temporary halt. The stay was extended indefinitely Tuesday.
 
The federal appeals court acted on a request from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who defended Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.
 
Friedman's ruling came in a federal lawsuit filed in 2012 by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs. DeBoer and Rowse have said they sued because they were barred from jointly adopting each other's children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.
 
"I think it's spectacular that our federal government has chosen to acknowledge the validity of these marriages, and accord the respect and dignity these couples and their families deserve," said attorney Dana Nessel, who represented DeBoer and Rowse.
 
Snyder, a Republican, acknowledged Wednesday that same-sex couples "had a legal marriage." But because of the court's stay, he added, the gay marriage ban has been restored. That closed the door, at least for now, to certain state benefits reserved solely for married couples. The American Civil Liberties Union has said more than 1,000 Michigan laws are tied to marriage.
 
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., issue licenses for same-sex marriages. Since December, bans on gay marriage also have been overturned by courts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.
 
Matthew Barraza and Tony Milner are part of an ACLU lawsuit challenging Utah's decision to stop granting benefits for newly married same-sex couples. Only Barraza is legally recognized as a parent to their 4-year-old son, Jesse.
 
"Heaven forbid if something should happen to one us, Jesse would have the security of having the other parent take care of him," Milner said after the suit was filed. "Now, because of the state's refusal to recognize our marriage, this peace of mind is once again out of reach."

Comments

skyking007

Democrats are for all the people. Equality matters. Republicans think minorities don't count. Out of touch and way behind.

Vladtheimp

Gee, I'm a white male and I'm a minority but Obama and Eric Holder have done zip, zero, nada for me. Maybe you should take a look at the demographics of the county before you mount the Songbird and indulge in your flights of fancy.

ghtwpboy

I'm a Christian and the Dems can't do enough to take away my religious freedoms, destroying family values. Not feeling your sentiments.

ghjhs

Maybe their not filed with condemnaion,family values start at home and religious freedoms are for all,these principles are what our country was founded on.

Truth Be Told

You really are an ignorant troll hate monger.

gordbzz231

Another example of politicians auguring about issues and not getting nothing done,

ghresident

Forget all this trivial BS, Gay marriages, Osama Care and everything else.

Fix our stinkin' economy first!

Freddo

A) What you call trivial BS, others might call issues of basic civil rights. Just because you aren't gay doesn't mean that GLBT issues are unimportant. A society can best be judged by how it treats its minority groups.

B) Health care costs, and particularly the impact of serious health problems on the working poor, are a major drag on individuals, and thus affect the economy. Whether the ACA (and yes, I'm trying to ignore your deeply offensive invoking of true evil to tarnish something fundamentally decent and market-based) is the means to fix those costs is another matter, but at least it's an effort.

C) How would you "fix" the economy, O Oracle? I've studied economics enough to know that Keynesian spending would stimulate some economic growth, but the GOP would never agree to that, and the president can't demand it on his own. There is no evidence that further tax cuts for the wealthy would be stimulative. The wealthiest Americans (individuals and companies) have the lowest tax burdens since the New Deal, and yet unemployment remains stubbornly high. Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor is increasing, while the middle class has seen stagnant wages relative to inflation. Bottom line: we are at the wrong point on the Laffer Curve to consider further tax cuts.

So, tax cuts won't help (unless we cut them on the poor and increased them on the rich to compensate), government-led stimulus spending is unacceptable to the Republicans, the GOP also won't consider a higher minimum wage (or an expansion of the EITC, which would be far more beneficial), and the Fed has run out of options to stimulate the economy through monetary policy. You tell me: what does that leave?

deepthink

In my opinion, any solution must include an increase in tax on the wealthy through income and/or estate taxation. Otherwise, history shows us that at some point in time the division between classes will become so great revolution is inevitable.

nextdoor

If it wasn't for the minority African Americans and Hispanics Michigan voter would have passed gay marriage in 04 however the minoritys were predominantly against gay marriage.

skyking007

Nazism came as a narrow minded Christian movement. When any religion takes away rights of people who are not of that religion they are not following God's plan. Free choice means every person has the right to chose what they believe. Follow your belief but don't make laws that restrict other people. I have been married for over forty years and Gay marriage does not affect my marriage in any way.

CAPNGORDO

Nazism came out of the DISTORTION of God's Word. Let me be very clear on that!! "Narrow minded Christen"? That makes no sense at all. Distorting God's Word destroys the family. God's design for us is Man and Women. That's NOT "narrow minded", that's the way God planned it. Your last sentence "Gay marriage does not affect my marriage in any way" is extremely "narrow minded" and self-centered. Your disagreement is between you and God.

Freddo

Your belief as to what any god's plan is or isn't is your interpretation. You can't use your interpretation of the will of a god to deny rights to other people who don't believe as you do.

Please explain to the rest of us, though, how gay marriage affects your heterosexual marriage. What damage is done to you if two women or two men get married? I doubt it will affect you in any material way. If you don't like same-sex marriage, don't get a same-sex marriage.

deepthink

Let's say "God's plan" says homosexuality is wrong. Are you willing to reject God's word to get what you want?

Freddo

Let's say that there is no god. That's just as easy an assumption to make as yours. Or, let's say that I believe in a god, but not the vengeful, depraved monster found in the Old Testament. Or, let's say that there is a god, that this god believes that "the greatest commandment is love," and that this god will punish those who reject that commandment or get in the way of people who are trying to live it out. All of those are equal possibilities to the hypothetical you raise.

If you're right, then lots of GLBT people will wind up being judged for their rejection of God's word. Then again, so will all the people who got divorced, since God has a serious issue with that, apparently. Not that the Right is fighting to strip the right of remarriage for divorcees.

Or, we could acknowledge that we live in a secular republic and acknowledge that mere religious doctrinal beliefs are not sufficient reason to deny people their liberties, or mark them as second-class citizens.

deepthink

Yes, those are all possibilities. I was really just wanting to know what I asked. Which is...Would you reject God's word to get what you want even if you knew it were true?

Freddo

It's a pointless question you're asking. If I said yes, you'd tell me that the Bible was truth and god's view is already clear. If I said no, then I'm a selfish secular hedonist who thinks he is more important than god. I'm not going to play that game with you. If there were indisputable, universal, verifiable proof of a god, we'd all have to do our best to follow that god's will, but there isn't. And no, "the Bible says so," is not proof.

I don't believe that the Bible is any sort of inerrant document, though. I don't believe in your religious dogmas. You can quote it to the end of your days, and judging by other comments threads, I know you will, but I do not share your belief. And it is a belief, not an objective reality, that you hold. You sincerely believe that you are right, but you could be wrong. I could easily be wrong, too. It's quite possible that there is a god, that this god is vengeful, and that this god will smite the unbelievers. In that case, then god is a pretty indefensible monster, but so be it. The chips will fall where they may.

I'm glad that your faith gives meaning to your life. Accept that not everyone believes as you do. I do not take the atheist's approach, sneering at religious people as delusional or primitive. I think that's arrogant and cold. However, I do not see a difference between Christianity and Islam (for example) in terms of plausibility. Witness the likes of Reverend Cramer, who is not only religious, but Christian. Yet, he interprets the Bible -- after all of his studies -- in a completely different way than you do. That proves my point; no one can be certain of the "right" answer.

The point is, you can't use religious hypotheticals to define public policy. We live in a secular republic. Whatever traditions influenced the Framers in some way, the Constitution is a determinedly secular document, protecting all from religious tyranny and giving all the right to practice their beliefs, but demanding that no religious test be imposed to hold public office. I would not deny you your right to your faith, insofar as it does not infringe on the rights of other citizens. That go for all faiths. However, questions of faith are between you and your god that may or may not exist. If Muslims are right about the nature of god and man, we're both in trouble. If the Buddhists are right, then you, I, and the Muslims are all in trouble. These are all possibilities.

Since we don't know -- beyond any shadow of a doubt -- who is right and who is not, we have to proceed as if there is no religion, and construct our legal system based on the principle of engendering liberty, promoting the general welfare, and avoiding actions that would cause harm to others. By this principle, there is no rational basis for denying marriage to same-sex couples. It benefits the couple, it benefits the community, and it causes no direct harm to anyone.

deepthink

My question wasn't meant to be the Kobayashi Maru. Also, I meant it to be a personal question and not a statement about SSM....and I have/had no "planned response." It's obvious you're not stupid and you've thought about this a lot. I was curious if you had ever asked yourself the question... If it came down to it, would I choose my rules or God's? Obviously, you don't have to answer. I was just curious as to how deep your convictions went.

Freddo

Okay, fair enough, then. As I see it, if a god existed who exercised control over the fate of our immortal souls, then obviously one would be wise to follow that god's will as best as possible, given the consequences. I'd want to believe that one's actions as a whole would matter, not just single issues. On top of that, I still don't think it'd be my place to force others to make the "right" choice, since everyone has free will.

As I said, though, I don't believe that the universe operates that way, so I just try to be the best person I can for the sake of the people I encounter.

deepthink

You write well...very articulately. I wish I were that skilled. Please, please don't take this as a "jab", but you write so well I can't figure out if you knew you didn't answer the question or if it was by accident.

Freddo

Read this bit again: "As I see it, if a god existed who exercised control over the fate of our immortal souls, then obviously one would be wise to follow that god's will as best as possible, given the consequences." That's as close as I can get to answering your question, because a) it's so far into hypothetical territory that it's completely outside anything I can imagine, and b) I don't think that anyone follows perfectly what is currently claimed to be "God's rules" by various Christian and Muslim sects. Obviously, though, if my soul were hanging in the balance and I knew it, I'd have to try very, very hard to follow whatever I understood the rules of that god to be, even if it wasn't what I wanted. I don't know if I'd be able to do that perfectly, but I'd have to try. That's the best I can do in terms of answering your question.

Truth Be Told

Wrong again troll.
The Nazis ( NSDAP) National socialist workers party. The Nazi''s were the liberals of their day.
And just like now, they blamed christians and jews for their troubles, JUST like the liberals of today.

You are to consumed with hate and BS to even make a half was descent troll.
Ignorant haters should keep their pie holes closed until they learn the facts.
BTW: hows that "free" health care working out for ya?

Freddo

I'm going to be as polite as I can about this: anyone who claims that the Nazis "were the liberals of their day" has such a poor understanding of history as to disgrace a high-school student. "National socialism" is NOT left-wing socialism, despite what Jonah Goldberg "thinks."

During their rise to power, the Nazis denounced social democrats (the main left-of-center party in the Weimar Republic), socialists, and communists in equal terms as being enemies of Germany, and the Sturmabteilung fought communist and socialist groups in the street. After the Machtergreifung (the Nazi seizure of power in 1933-1934), all left-wing parties were outlawed, and communists (the KDP) and socialists were jailed in concentration camps. Social democrats (the SDP) didn't fare much better; their leaders were killed, imprisoned, or forced to flee Germany. The NSDAP and Hitler regarded Bolshevism as the worst enemy of the German social order, and linked it to Jews. They loathed the political left, no matter its form.

The Nazis firmly allied themselves with right-wing establishment figures like Hindenburg, and they co-opted many of those figures from other parties during and after the Machtergreifung. It was a far-right-wing movement, tapping into the worst nationalist sentiments of existing German social movements. The Nazis were sharply opposed by all of the liberal parties in the Weimar Republic; it was the Centre Party (a centrist to moderately conservative party) leadership -- especially von Papen -- who helped Hitler to power. The Nazis used to ally themselves with another firmly right-wing party, the German National People's Party (the DNVP), but Hitler denounced them as being too soft and compromising when they moved toward the political center, after which the Nazis became the dominant hard-right party in Germany.

I do not believe that even a plurality of conservatives are modern-day Nazis; that's a stupid charge to make. However, it's equally stupid to claim that the Nazis were liberals. They were anything but, and even a cursory study of history or political science makes that point abundantly clear.

Vladtheimp

I got nothing.

MENSA awaits you - grab Penny, fire up the Songbird, and head toward the Mother Wheel.

CAPNGORDO

If AG Holder moved that quickly on Benghazi, IRS targeting conservative groups, NSA spying on the American public, voter fraud, Illegal Aliens etc.... Man can change the definition of "Marriage" but God's definition is final... Your same-sex marriage request for God's blessing fall's on deaf ears. Your disagreement is not with me, it's with God...

deepthink

It takes an "evolution" (changing) of civil rights for the Constitution to allow SSM. It takes a lie for God's word to be interpreted as allowing SSM. Don't worry though...God tells us this is coming.

bigdeal

Y'all live believing in fairy tales, a book written by men (more than one) with a lot of 'books' left out by 'scholars' at the time for some reason. Oh, yeah, it didn't fit with their views, so they left out the books about your jesus having an affair with a prostitute, as we couldn't have that in your bible!! Religious people are the ultimate sheep. They have started wars over it, stole land/possessions/children in the name of it and continue to kill people who do not believe like them. They want to cram their view on every living person, and control what people think, feel, touch, smell, eat, breath, your body and who to have sex with.

deepthink

The Bible doesn't need defending. People's actions, on the other hand do. You go ahead and believe what you want.

Lanivan

They even want to subvert the Constitution by using it as a vehicle to lead the country by biblical law. Not any biblical law, but the laws they think are important as Christians. And not any Christianity, but their version of Christianity.

dyankee

Kinda’ like how the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender community is subverting Judicial Law by using it as a vehicle to lead the country by manipulating the very Constitution you speak of. Not any Judicial Law, but the laws they think are important as homosexuals. And not any Judicial law, but their version of Judicial Law.

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