Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don't appeal, don't waste taxpayer money

After my post stating that a stay had been issued, halting same-sex marriages in Michigan, I got a sad note from my sister's partner. I was too optimistic with my post that the Michigan ban had been struck down. I asked my sister when the wedding might be. Sis and her partner began to seriously think about that wedding. They even went so far as to consider their back yard in September. Now they are disappointed again.

I apologize for being so optimistic because I knew there would be a request for a stay and if the 6th Circuit didn't grant it, the Supremes would (see Utah). Even if Michigan AG Bill Schuette didn't request the stay (all through the trial he repeated he would appeal and ask for a stay until the appeals process was done) somebody in Michigan would have.

So, yes, we're back to the waiting game. The stay is in effect until Wednesday, giving the 6th Circuit enough time to decide whether to hear the case. If they take it the stay will no doubt continue. It may take them a year to rule. And it might be another year beyond that before the Supremes rule. The Supremes will have a wide selection of cases to choose from.

In answer to the partner's last question. Whenever the wedding is I'll do everything I can to be there. I want to celebrate with you.

As one would expect, the Free Press had same-sex marriage and the halting of them on the front page of today's edition. There were also a few commentaries.

A photo gallery of some of the more than 100 weddings that happened in at least four counties. More than 300 licenses were issued.

Those that are married must now wait on whether the state will recognize the marriage. AG Schuette hasn't said. Some couples are claiming their rights as married by doing such things a immediately filing jointly on their state taxes.

The main editorial commends the ruling and laments the stay. It says the Free Press was skeptical of the amendment when it was voted in almost 10 years ago. It didn't see that the amendment "promoted any legitimate public interest." The judge showed the editorial board's skepticism was well founded. The editorial laments how much money Schuette spent on this case, which will go up when he has to pay plaintiff's costs. And it calls on Schuette to not appeal to avoid wasting any more taxpayer money -- remember of Schuette's big three witnesses one was disqualified, another was ruled unbelievable, and the third declared that unrepentant gays will burn in hell. It's not going to get any better in the 6th Circuit courtroom.

I wrote about 10 days ago about Judith Levy, a lesbian, being confirmed to be a US District judge in the same courthouse as Bernard Friedman, the guy who just struck down the same-sex marriage ban. Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson has more on the story.

Back when Levy graduated from law school her first job was being a clerk for Friedman. And that three year period was when Levy's daughters were born. Levy made no secret that the girls were through artificial insemination and the other adult in the home was Levy's partner Janet Johnson. The relationship remained close enough that during the trial the daughters attended and had lunch with the judge and staff in his chambers.

Friedman is conscientious enough that he paid close attention during the trial he requested and ruled based only on the evidence he heard. But getting to know a young lesbian mom 17 years ago surely helped.

Judge Levy was on hand in Washtenaw County to sign marriage certificates.

Columnist Mitch Albom says we're focusing on the wrong thing. We worry about the definition of marriage and keeping gays away from it. Instead, we should be paying more attention to the health of our own marriages.

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