Federal judge orders Michigan to recognize 323 same-sex marriages News
Federal judge orders Michigan to recognize 323 same-sex marriages

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] on Thursday issued a preliminary order [text, PDF] forcing the state to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed on March 22, 2014. The couples wed a day after US District Judge Bernard Friedman declared the Michigan ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a decision that was later reversed [ruling, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website]. In Thursday’s order Judge Mark Goldsmith wrote, “the same-sex couples who married in Michigan during the brief period when such marriages were authorized acquired a status that state officials may not ignore.” Michigan Governor Richard Snyder stated an intent to respect the judge’s ruling and recognize the marriages.

The Sixth Circuit ruling [JURIST report] reversed lower court decisions from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee [JURIST reports] that had struck down same-sex marriage bans or ordered recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages [JURIST backgrounder]. The Sixth Circuit decision creates a circuit split with the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits [JURIST reports], and such a split among the circuits on a particular issue will typically encourage the Supreme Court to grant review. However, in October the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] seven pending same-sex marriage cases, allowing those appeals court rulings to stand and effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in several states.