The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to announce plans to hear a case challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and many same-sex marriage advocacy groups across the state are expressing their frustration.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has passed on hearing a same-sex marriage case from Louisiana, the court has yet to announce any information about the four cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, including the challenge to Michigan’s ban, DeBoer v. Snyder. The U.S. Supreme Court will have two more conference days this month, Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, in which these possible cases will be discussed.
Jay Kaplan, project staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s LGBT Rights Project, said he is hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will take Michigan’s marriage case to hear on appeal. The Michigan marriage case, along with cases in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, is currently up for consideration by the Supreme Court.
“Now is the time for the United States Supreme Court to weigh in and to provide finality of the issue of marriage equality for all 50 states,” Kaplan said. “It’s time for the remaining states (like Michigan) which do not permit marriage equality to join the fold and a favorable decision from the Supreme Court can provide both that clarity and finality.”
Last spring, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, a decision which was appealed after the state issued a stay on the ruling.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling and upheld the ban in a decision announced by the last November. The three-member panel of judges, who began hearing oral arguments from both sides last August, ruled in a 2-1 decision.
Numerous marriage-equality interest groups have expressed their frustration with the U.S. Supreme Court’s lack of action pertaining to same-sex marriage.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a statement Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court did not announce a decision. Schuette has vowed to enforce the state’s ban.
“I am hopeful the court will eventually take up this issue and optimistic they will choose to do so at their next conference,” Schuette said. “The sooner the United States Supreme Court makes a decision on this issue the better it will be for Michigan and America.”
Emily Dievendorf, executive director of the advocacy organization Equality Michigan, said the state of Michigan is more than ready to join the 36 other states where same-sex marriage is legal.
Brad O’Conner, vice president of the Jim Toy Community Center, said the wait for many Michigan couples, for both in-state and out-of-state licensure, has been difficult and emotional.
“With the arc continuing to bend toward justice in the United States, we look forward to the day when all families, not just here in Michigan, but nationwide are recognized under the law,” he said.