Federal judge strikes down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban

by
March 22, 2014

DETROIT –  Michigan’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge said Friday as he struck down a law that was widely embraced by voters a decade ago — the latest in a recent series of decisions overturning similar laws across the country.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman announced his ruling after a rare two-week trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.

There was no indication that the judge was suspending his decision while the state can appeal. The decision was released shortly after 5 p.m., when most county clerk offices in Michigan were closed. Clerks issue marriage licenses. It was not clear if gay marriages could begin immediately.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same-sex marriage. Since December, bans on gay marriage have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.

Two Detroit-area nurses, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, want to get married, but the original purpose of their 2012 lawsuit was to overturn Michigan’s ban on joint adoptions by same-sex couples.

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