ACLU Of Michigan Asks Court To Order State to Recognize LGBT Marriages


DETROIT - On May 22 the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the federal district court to require the State of Michigan to recognize the 300 LGBT marriages performed March 22. The couples were legally married after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in DeBoer V. Snyder declaring the Michigan Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional.

A few days after the DeBoer V. Snyder decision, Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the state would not recognize the marriages for purposes of providing state benefits that are afforded to married couples. His statement was followed by a response by the federal government that it would recognize the marriages for legal purposes.

A preliminary injunction is a request by one party in a lawsuit that prevents the other party from pursuing a course of conduct until the conclusion of a trial. The State of Michigan has until June 5 to file its initial answer to the lawsuit.

"At the heart of this case is the fundamental right of lawfully married couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage," Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project said. "The state cannot strip a married couple of recognition after it issues a valid marriage license."

The trial in question is Caspar v. Snyder, the lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Michigan on April 14 on behalf of eight legally married couples whose rights were denied by the State of Michigan. The lawsuit argues that the state violated the couples due process and equal protection rights by refusing to recognize their lawful marriages.

Kaplan isn't the only attorney representing the Caspar group. ACLU cooperating attorneys Julian Mortenson and Andrew Nickelhoff and ACLU attorneys Daniel Korobkin, Brooke Tucker, Michael J. Steinberg, John Knight and Kary Moss will also get their hands dirty in a fight for LGBT marriage equality.

The same type of thing is happening in Utah. The State of Utah had refused to recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples after the State's ban on marriage equality was struck down as unconstitutional.

However, last week a federal district court in Utah ordered the state to recognize those marriages in another ACLU case, holding that Utah's invalidation of those marriages was unconstitutional.

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