Court extends freeze on Michigan gay marriage
DETROIT – A federal appeals court on Tuesday put an indefinite halt to gay marriage in Michigan while it takes a longer look at a judge’s decision overturning a 2004 ban on same-sex nuptials.
The court granted the state’s request to suspend a ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who declared the voter-approved ban unconstitutional Friday. Hundreds of same-sex couples in four counties were married Saturday before the appeals court stepped in with a temporary stay that had been set to expire Wednesday.
The 2-1 decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for Attorney General Bill Schuette, who had pledged to rush to the U.S. Supreme Court if the court turned him down.
Judges Karen Caldwell and John Rogers said a stay is appropriate, especially because the Supreme Court ordered a similar time-out in January in a gay marriage case in Utah.
“There is no apparent basis to distinguish this case or to balance the equities any differently than the Supreme Court did” in Utah, Caldwell and Rogers said. “Furthermore, several district courts that have struck down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage similar to the Michigan amendment at issue here have also granted requests for stays made by state defendants.”
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