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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Cases in the Michigan Mix

As the SCOTUS perpares to consider some momentous same-sex marriage cases this term in Washington, D.C., Michigan has a few cases of its own that deserve consideration.  Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman has recently taken one case under advisement in Detroit as he awaits direction from the SCOTUS on this issue; while the other case involves today's Up North wedding between two men, pictured at left, Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield.

Michigan is an interesting state for the same-sex marriage issue to arise. In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.  If SCOTUS declares a similar ban in California unconstitutional, the floodgates could be opened for same-sex couples.

In the case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, a gay couple first set out to challenge the adoption laws that they alleged discriminated against same-sex couples.  Their lawsuit then morphed into a challenge to Michigan's 2004 constitutional amendment which defines a marriage as between a man and a woman.  Plaintiffs in the suit are a lesbian couple from Hazel Park.

Defending Michigan's constitution is the Michigan Attorney General, who argues that the amendment does not discriminate against specific groups but rather, is merely "an affirmative statement about the virtues of traditional marriage".

Today's Up North wedding between the two men is scheduled to take place at an unknown location; presumably somewhere on the Odawa Indian Reservation or lands.  The same-sex marriage was endorsed by a close majority of the legislative body of the Indian Tribe.

Because the tribe to which the men belong is recognized by the U.S. Government, it is not bound by state law thus, the 2004 constitutional amendment does not apply to the Tribe.  Major-league loophole.

We here at the Law Blogger, like Judge Friedman, will be watching SCOTUS for its decision on the issue.

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