Two women were the first gay couple to marry in Michigan on Saturday, one day after the state’s ban on gay marriage, approved by voters in a landslide in 2004, was scratched from the state constitution by a federal judge.
Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, both of Lansing, were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum in Mason just after her office opened at 8am Saturday. Byrum said it was an honor to marry same-sex couples who have waited too long for this day.
“I figured in my lifetime it would happen,” Caspar said. “But now, when it happens now, it’s just overwhelming. I still can’t believe it. I don’t think it’s hit me yet.”
DeJong and Caspar have been together for 27 years. DeJong called it a day of “sheer joy,” adding that Michigan should not “waste taxpayer dollars and cause more turmoil” by pursuing a stay on gay marriage as Attorney General Bill Schuette did immediately after Friday’s ruling.
Clerks who handle marriage licenses in Michigan’s 83 counties said they would start granting them to gay men and lesbians – at least three as early as Saturday. DeJong and Caspar first learned the courthouse would be open after Byrum tweeted about it early Saturday morning.
At least 50 people had lined up in the Oakland County clerk’s office in Pontiac, on the outskirts of the Detroit metropolitan area, when clerk Lisa Brown arrived to open it at 8am local time, carrying a heart-shaped balloon. Brown’s staff handed out paperwork to couples who were undeterred by the Michigan attorney general’s immediate appeal…
Not that the state’s Republican-dominated legislature cares about all love and marriage.
It isn’t known when a federal appeals court in Cincinnati will respond to Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request for a stay while an appeal is pursued…”A stay would serve the public interest by preserving the status quo … while preventing irreparable injury to the state and its citizens,” he said…
The historic decision by US District Judge Bernard Friedman, who said the ballot box is no defense to a law that tramples the rights of same-sex couples, followed a two-week trial that explored attitudes and research about homosexual marriage and households led by same-sex couples…
He praised April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs. They filed a lawsuit in 2012 because they’re barred from jointly adopting each other’s children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.
“In attempting to define this case as a challenge to ‘the will of the people,’ state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people,” the judge said…”It is the court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up ‘to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives,'” Friedman said, quoting the Supreme Court.
Bigots have always quoted the “will of the people” when they live in a state backwards enough to endorse bigotry. If not, there is no shortage of sophistry to generate appeals against progressive change, modernizing of 14th Century morality.
UPDATE: 300 couples manage to get marriage licenses before judge responds to Republican government of Michigan and stops gay marriages. Conservative homophobes can rest easy this morning. Second-class citizenship is restored to Michigan at least temporarily.