Michigan May Have To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

(WLNS) – More than 300 same-sex couples married in Michigan could soon receive full marital benefits.

That’s after a decision by a U.S. district court judge who ruled it unconstitutional to deny those benefits.

6 News Intern Cat Reid caught up with one couple to find out how they feel.

When Marnee Rutledge found out her marriage could be fully recognized by the state, she had one important person to tell.

“I texted one of her coworkers and said do you know where my wife is?”

Rutledge and Samantha wolf are one of the 300 couples whose marriages were recognized Thursday when a U.S. district court ruled the state must give them marital benefits.

It’s a decision that Governor Rick Snyder says he’s respecting.

“My view is I’m gonna follow what the law is, and if the federal judge has made a judgment, until that’s repealed or modified, we’ll respect what the judge is saying.”

The court gave the state a 21 day stay to allow an appeal. Attorney General Bill Schuette says he is reviewing the ruling.

But Wolf hopes the state will consider the financial burden of an appeal.

“People are using basically, you know, my tax dollars to discriminate against me, and you know they’re using your tax dollars, they’re using everybody’s tax dollars,” said Samantha Wolf, Lansing.

Thursday’s ruling is not the final chapter of this story as the Supreme Court may decide Friday to take the case on Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

“The Supreme Court in likelihood is going to kind of get these couples out of limbo, hopefully get these couples out of limbo and give a decision by the end of the term,” said Emily Horvath, Cooley Law School.

That’s the fight Rutledge and Wolf hope to turn their attention to, but for now, they’re still reacting to the news they received.

“Tears, just tears of joy that we don’t have to fight this particular fight anymore, and we can focus on the bigger fight at hand,” said Marnee Rutledge, Lansing.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette released a statement on the ruling, saying, “we are reviewing
Judge Goldsmith’s decision but as I have said repeatedly, the sooner the United States Supreme Court makes a decision on this issue, the better it will be for Michigan and America.”

This is just the beginning of the process over what’s next for same-sex marriage in Michigan. Stay with 6 News on-air and online as we continue our coverage of the legal battle.

 

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