Ingham County Clerk Seeking Couples Wanting To Be Married After Supreme Court Decision

BY Todd Heywood

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, one of four county clerks to marry same-sex couples last year, is "cautiously optimistic" the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in favor of marriage equality this month. To prepare, she is asking same-sex couples who wish to be married to contact her.

"When there is a decision for marriage equality, I can reach out to them and let them know what the plans are," said Byrum.

Byrum said she will be ready to start issuing marriage licenses and performing ceremonies as soon as she has a legal green light. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule sometime this month in four different cases revolving around marriage equality -- including a case from Michigan.

It's great to see county clerks like Barb Byrum preparing for a positive ruling from the Court," said Gina Calgano of Michigan for Marriage. "Some couples have been waiting decades to get married. It's heartening to know that should the Court rule in favor of freedom to marry, that Ingham County couples will not face additional delays in the state's recognition of their relationships."

While the state still has not issued updated marriage license forms which are gender neutral, Byrum said she is ready to move ahead anyway.

"If (the state) isn't prepared to follow the law, I certainly will be," she said. She noted that the state had not issued new license applications in March 2014, but the marriages performed in a short window that month were deemed legal by the state. While those marriage were deemed legal, Gov. Rick Snyder said they would not be recognized. A federal court has ruled the state must recognize those marriages, and the state has not appealed that decision.

Byrum said she is also planning to waive the three day waiting period for same-sex marriages.

"In this case, I know so many couples have waited decades to get married," she said. "I see no reason to make them wait three more days."

To qualify for marriage in Ingham County both partners have to 18 years old, or have written parental permission, and one of the two persons seeking marriage must be a resident of the county. Byrum is asking residents interested in up-to-the-minute information on marriage equality to email her at ClerkByrum@gmail.com.
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