Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

A federal judge has ruled Michigan's anti-gay law unconstitutional, ruling it violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban
MLive.com / Katie Bailey

A federal judge struck down a gay marriage ban in Michigan late Friday, ruling it violated the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. 

Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the Michigan Marriage Amendment, passed by Michigan voters in 2004, which prohibited same-sex marriage. Friedman wrote in his decision, "regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail." (Via U.S. District Courts)

Michigan's anti-gay law was challenged by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple who sought the right to marry and adopt each other's children. WXYZ captured their reaction to hearing the ruling.

"We are just so happy and proud that Michigan is now on the right side of history, and that we were able to stand up and say this isn't fair."

Slate notes Friedman is just the latest in a series of judges striking down anti-gay laws, following last year's historic Supreme Court decision repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act. "Last June, constitutional protections for gay marriage were thrilling and novel. Today, just nine months later, they’re practically old news."

But DeBoer and Rowse might have to wait a little longer to tie the knot — the county clerk's office isn't open on weekends to distribute marriage licenses. And the Detroit Free Press reports the state's attorney general has filed an emergency stay of the decision and appealed the ruling.

One legal analyst tells WOOD the issue will probably see its way back to the Supreme Court before the matter is settled.

"This case might get swept up in those cases, or it might be sitting in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals waiting for the Supreme Court to decide it. But they will decide it definitively."

After Friday's decision, Michigan becomes the eighteenth state to allow same-sex marriage.