Michigan Gay Marriages Recognized By Feds, If Not At State Level (At Least, Not Yet)
Good news for hundreds of married people in the state of Michigan, and for supporters of same-sex marriage nationwide — the federal government will recognize Michigan same-sex marriages which were performed last Saturday, prior to a federal appeals court placing a stay on further ceremonies. Those spouses will be eligible for the same federal benefits as other same-sex marriages.
Which means that, for purposes of federal recognition, the approximately 300 people who got married in the hours prior to the stay, in the words of Attorney General Eric Holder, "will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts."
It was for just one morning that Michigan's LGBT community was permitted to engage in that oldest of interpersonal unions, following U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman's ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Michigan's state government is Republican-controlled at the moment, under Governor Rick Snyder, and as such an appeal came swiftly from state Attorney General Bill Schuette, which spurred the 6th Circuit Court's stay.
This is a familiar tact for Holder, whose justice department has made it clear they find this a settled issue. In 2011, they announced they would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was later struck down in a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2013. Since it was struck down, much as conservative Justice Antonin Scalia feared, same-sex marriage bans have been collapsing all over the country, the spread of marriage equality catching like wildfire.
Basically, whether Michigan's gay and lesbian couples will be permitted to marry, and receive both federal and state benefits seems a matter of if, not when. Opponents of same-sex marriage have, when taken into courtrooms to make their case, almost uniformly failed in recent years.
Support for same-sex marriage continues poll at levels gay rights activists couldn't have dreamed of for decades, as well — Michigan in particular saw a huge turnaround simply from the beginning of 2012 to its end, with support leaping some 15 percent.
Perhaps the simplest way to sum it up is how former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom did, with his then-controversial and prescient words back in 2000...