What is being done to allow for same-sex marriages in Lansing

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The issue

Governor Rick Snyder will not recognize the 300 some same sex marriages from Saturday, March 22nd.

He has offered to give guidance to the couples that received these marriage licenses as they are being reviewed to see if the marriages will be valid for tax, adoption, and insurance issues.

Three hundred twenty one marriages were done on Saturday between Ingham, Muskegon, Oakland, and Washtenaw countiesin celebration of Michigan being the 18th state to accept same-sex marriage.

The weddings occurred after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman had struck down a constitutional amendment that states marriage is between a man and a woman made in 2004, according to USA Today.

This amendment was supported by 2.7 million voters in Michigan, at 60 percent believed that marriages are supposed to be between a man and woman, according to USA Today.

Nearly 299 weddings took place.  In celebration of Michigan being the 18th state to accept same-sex marriage.

A day later the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary stay on these marriages causing them to be unaware of the legalities of their marriage.  Later the hold was extended indefinitely.

This hold was put on after the marriage of  lesbian couple April Deboer and Jayne Rowse

Deboer and Rowse had been together for over a decade and have been raising their three special needs children together, but have been unable to have both names on adoption papers.

“The marriage license was obtained and executed while legal in Michigan and therefore should be recognized and afforded all of the benefits along with a legal Michigan marriage,” said Barb Byrum, Ingham County clerk on the marriages done on March 22nd.



Lansing Association for Human Rights (LAHR) is Michigans oldest LGBT community organization, founded in Sept. 1979.

“LAHR has always played an advocacy role as well as an educational role and these efforts have a long history, which continues today, encouraging progress,” said Bill Beachler, who has been with the organization since 1980.

LAHR’s role is to educate and rate candidates for elected office, educa


te voters on candidates positions on social issues and publishes newsletters to educate the public on marriage current marriage issues, according to Beachler.

Beachler is currently the publisher of the LGBT News, LAHR’s newsletter.

LAHR works in partnership with Equality Michigan, Triangle Foundation/ MOHR and the ACLU.


Equality Michigan

 Equality Michigan is Michigan’s only state- wide anti-violence and advocacy organization for LGBT community.  Their mission according to their website is, “Equality Michigan works to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

They have been planning for same-sex marriages to legalize for months and helped to prepare LGBT community for the day they were able to be married.

A petition had been held to drop the appeal Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuett set in place for the Deboer vs. Snyder case.  According to a press release from Equality Michigan 10,324 people have signed this petition as of Saturday at 6:15PM.




American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also has involvement with the appeal on same-sex marriages.

ACLU is considered our nations “guardian of liberty” and defends individuals rights within courts and legislations according to their official website.

When the marriage was specified as legal on Saturday Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan’s Executive Director said, “Today’s decision is a huge victory for the people of Michigan. The momentum toward LGBT equality is accelerating as yet another federal court finds that denying same-sex couples the fairness and dignity of marriage is unconstitutional.”

ACLU focuses more on the actual constitutional rights for Americans and pushes to keep those rights for people.



First Legal Same-Sex marriage in Michigan

Glenna Dejong and Marsha Casper was Michigan’s first same-sex marriage.

Dejong and Casper first met at Michigan state University through mutual friends and have been together for the past 27 years.

Judge Friedman was the official that lifted the ban on same-sex marriages and when the couple found out about this through text they were “elated and began to cry.”

They did not plan to be the first gay couple married in Michigan according to Dejong.  “It must be that I am old and got up early,” joked Dejong in an interview with Huffington Post.

She had picked up her iPad at 6:34AM and saw a tweet from Byrum stating below.


Later another couple tweets were posted showing the marriage between Dejong and Casper.



tweet 3


“I issued 57 same-sex marriage licenses on March 14, 2014 and personally performed 30 marriage ceremonies,” said Byrum.



The future

The future of legalization of same-sex marriages in Michigan is currently unclear.

There have been a lot of legal issues involving marriage in the United States currently.

“There are around 70 such cases around the country- Don Gaudard from LA, who wrote East Lansing’s first in the country civil rights ordinance, recently sent me the list of all the cases and the current statuses,” said Be.achler

After reviewing these cases Beachler believes that all issues will eventually be successfully resolved.

Those that were involved with the original legalization and marriages that occurred feel that there is hope in same-sex couples future.

“The days of having second-class citizens are over.  There is no justification for a certain class of people to be treated differently,” said Byrum.






















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