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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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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Michigan's Official Position on Same-Sex Marriage

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court yesterday laying out Michigan's official position on the constitutional question of whether states can ban same-sex marriage. The response brief was filed in the April DeBoer case, currently pending at the SCOTUS and scheduled for oral arguments on April 28th.

Readers of this blog know that we have consistently supported same-sex marriages and adoptions, posting favorable editorials since 2009 when the first federal case arose in California, and tracking the issue ever since.  That said, the AG really lands some compelling points in Michigan's brief.

The issue, as framed by the SCOTUS and now amplified by the Michigan Attorney General, is whether states are required to license same-sex marriages; and whether states must recognize same-sex nuptials performed in another state.

The Michigan AG asserts that in a democratic society, it is offensive to have un-elected federal jurists deciding such important intimate issues that have been resolved by a local electorate. Further, the AG asserts that the United States Constitution is silent on the question of marriage thus, to fashion such rules by federal judicial fiat demonstrates "a lack of faith in democracy" which comes at a high cost to all of our fundamental rights.

Of course, it is the fundamental right of Due Process and self determination that constitutes the flip side of that argument.  Like in the Loving v Virginia decision from the 1960s -endorsing interracial marriages- the DeBoer case once again focuses the SCOTUS on whether certain rights, such as the right to select whom to marry, regardless of race or gender, are so fundamental that no state or federal law can interfere.

The scheduled oral arguments at the end of April truly will be historic. We here at the Law Blogger see this as the civil rights issue of our time.

As often stated by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the sooner the High Court decides this issue, the better, for everyone.

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