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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, November 7, 2014

Sixth Circuit Upholds State Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Bans

In what legal scholars are hailing as a surprising ruling, [we were surprised here at this blog] the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state constitutional ban in Michigan on same-sex marriages and adoptions.  In doing so, the Sixth Circuit broke away from the other federal circuits to decide the issue.  These state bans have been held unconstitutional in the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits.

The case we are talking about here in Michigan is, of course, the Deboer case.  The ruling from Cincinnati, also encompassed state ban cases pending in Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky; this ruling will make the same-sex civil rights issue more attractive to the SCOTUS, no doubt.  On that note, Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSBlog, lays out three distinct procedural options that lawyers for the Deboers and the other litigants in the cases pending in the other Sixth Circuit states are analyzing as this post is being composed.

The Sixth Circuit held that states are able to determine what rules govern the institution of marriage.  One consequence of the ruling is that 100s of couples remain in legal limbo that were legally married in Michigan during the brief period between when federal judge Bernard Friedman struck the state law ban, and when the ruling was stayed on appeal.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette stated briefly that he believes and has repeatedly stated that the issue will be ultimately decided by the SCOTUS sooner rather than later; that is as it should be.  Those of us in the legal industry, especially appellate watchers like Mr. Denniston, anticipate swift filings on behalf of the lawyers involved in the cases.

Last month, presumably because there was unanimity among the circuits, SCOTUS took a pass on the issue. Because of this ruling, new filings could hit the High Court by the end of the month.

We predicted wrong in one of our earlier posts; we predicted the Sixth Circuit would uphold the lower courts as the appellate courts have done in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah and Oklahoma throughout the federal circuits; and with more cases in the pipeline.

We here at the Law Blogger agree with Attorney General Schuette that resolution of these civil rights issues needs SCOTUS attention, and the sooner the better.

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