Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down By Judge, Who Called It Unconstitutional

A federal judge has struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman announced the ruling on Friday, making Michigan the 18th state to offer equal marriage rights to all of its citizens. The state’s Attorney General, BIll Schuette, filed an emergency appeal for a stay in Friedman’s ruling.

In 2004, 59 percent of Michigan voters approved a ban on gay marriage; however, a poll from earlier this year showed a change in public opinion, as 54 percent now support the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Judges often postpone the effective date of controversial rulings to give the other side a chance to appeal, but Friedman didn’t. As such, gay couples will presumably be able to married immediately, although Friedman didn’t make this clear in his ruling. County clerks issue marriage licenses, but Friedman made the ruling after 5:00pm, when most county clerks offices are closed.

The decision comes after a two-week trial that focused primarily on whether same-sex couples are fit to be parents. During the trial, University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus testified — using a discredited study — that children with gay parents are worse off than those with heterosexual parenting. Not only did the judge reject that claim, but the University of Texas actually disowned Regnerus’s testimony.