On Friday, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Much like other recent rulings in states with similar bans, US District Judge Bernard Friedman cited the Supreme Court’s rejection last June of parts of the Defense of Marriage Act while also pointing to the 14th Amendment. Also, just like those other states, a Republican is appealing the ruling and hoping to have an emergency stay put in place.
Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette made the following statement when discussing Friedman’s decision:
“In 2004, the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable. Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our state constitution, and their will should stand and be respected.”
Judge Friedman wrote the following in his decision on Friday:
“Today’s decision … affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail…The court finds the (Michigan Marriage Amendment) impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable state interest.”
Unlike in recent rulings in favor of marriage equality in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, Judge Friedman did not issue a temporary stay until this decision is heard by an appeals court. Therefore, unless Schuette is able to get an emergency measure in place prior to Monday morning, country clerks will be able to start issuing marriage licenses right away. In fact, at least four counties started granting licenses on Saturday.
The thing is, none of these states that are appealing these rulings are going to win. To do so, they have to defend discrimination. They aren’t able to prove that there is true civic and justifiable reason that same-sex marriage needs to be against the law. They cannot prove that it causes irreparable harm to society. Overall, the reason for denying same-sex couples the benefit of marriage is purely for discriminatory purposes.
Judge Friedman hit upon that in his decision, when he brought up previous court decisions that ruled state laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
“Both the Windsor and Loving decisions stand for the proposition that, without some overriding legitimate interest, the state cannot use its domestic relations authority to legislate families out of existence.”
Social conservatives are just going to have to deal with the fact that marriage equality is here to stay. In the end, bigotry never prevails.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).