On June 5, 2014, a same-sex couple in Michigan challenged the state's refusal to recognize their marriage, filing a claim against the state pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Following the United States Supreme Court's ...
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On June 5, 2014, a same-sex couple in Michigan challenged the state's refusal to recognize their marriage, filing a claim against the state pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Following the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor
, plaintiffs had traveled to the State of New York and gotten married under state law. Upon returning, Michigan did not recognize this marriage.
Specifically, Michigan Public Act 324 had invalidated by statute all same-sex marriages in Michigan, and Michigan Public Act 334 prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions (both statutes were passed in 1996). Additionally, the 2004 Michigan Marriage Amendment essentially codified these restrictions into the state's constitution. One of the plaintiffs here is legal parent to an adopted child, but the couple is prevented from joint adoption in Michigan because of their unrecognized marriage. Plaintiffs allege that this deprives their child of many benefits associated with recognition of a legal family unit and deprives the couple of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
On February 10, 2015, the court (Judge Arthur J. Tarnow) granted a stay in this case, pending the U.S. Supreme Court resolution of DeBoer v. Snyder
. The latter case, while not featuring a couple with a marriage recognized in a different jurisdiction, also challenges the constitutionality of the Michigan Public Acts at issue here as well as the Michigan Marriage amendment. DeBoer v. Snyder
invalidated Michigan's same-sex marriage restrictions at the district court level, was reversed by the 6th Circuit, and is scheduled to be heard in a consolidated action before the United States Supreme Court in April of 2015; a decision is anticipated in June of 2015. Eric Cole - 03/30/2015