Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Ban on Gay Marriage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 21 2014 5:28 PM

Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Ban on Gay Marriage

The latest victory for marriage equality advocates comes from Michigan, via the Associated Press:

Michigan's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge said Friday as he struck down a law that was widely embraced by voters a decade ago—the latest in a recent series of decisions overturning similar laws across the country. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman announced his ruling after a rare two-week trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.
There was no indication that the judge was suspending his decision while the state can appeal. The decision was released shortly after 5 p.m., when most county clerk offices in Michigan were closed. Clerks issue marriage licenses. It was not clear if gay marriages could begin immediately.
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In advance of the ruling, the Detroit Free Press suggested that Friedman was expected to stay the decision while the appeals process plays out. Since December, statewide bans on same-sex marriage have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia—although appeals have put those cases on hold for the time being. Currently, a total of 17 states (and the District of Columbia) allow gays and lesbians to walk down the aisle.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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