John M. Becker

Marriage Suits in MI, 18 Other States. Where's WI?

Filed By John M. Becker | October 16, 2013 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, lawsuit, marriage equality, Michigan, same-sex marriage, Wisconsin

wisconsin_satellite.jpgIt's an exciting day for the LGBT community and equality supporters in Michigan, where U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman will hear oral arguments this afternoon in a challenge to that state's constitutional marriage discrimination amendment.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed has the scoop:

Although clerks in at least 10 of the state's counties have said they will issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples if Friedman's ruling allows them to do so, it is not yet clear whether and when they will be allowed to do so.

It is not certain that Friedman will even rule on the case following Wednesday's hearing or, if he does, that he will rule that marriage equality is constitutionally guaranteed. What's more, even if he does rule for marriage equality, there remains the question of whether he will issue a stay, which would put the case on hold pending an inevitable appeal by state officials.

If he rules in favor of marriage equality and does not issue a stay, however, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could put a halt to any marriages within hours or days, a stay it likely would leave in place if it does so while it considers an appeal.

According to a list recently released by Freedom to Marry, Michigan is one of 19 states where lawsuits are pending in marriage equality cases. The others are Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Sadly, my home state of Wisconsin (pictured above) is conspicuously absent from that list despite its wonderfully progressive history, its fabulous statewide equality organization, and its robust community of LGBTs and allies.

Wisconsin friends: what gives? If you're a married same-sex couple living in the state and you're able to afford it, why aren't you suing to overturn Wisconsin's marriage discrimination amendment? If you're passionate about marriage equality but not in the position to file a lawsuit right now, are you pressing your LGBT community leaders for greater engagement on this issue -- and donating whatever funds you can to make that possible?

Come on, Cheeseheads. What's the hold-up? If people in Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia can mount court challenges, there's no reason someone from Wisconsin can't do the same.

For inspiration, check out the Detroit Free Press's live feed from Judge Friedman's courthouse in Michigan. Coverage begins at 2:30 Eastern; the video is after the jump.

UPDATE: Make that twenty states: two couples in Oregon filed suit yesterday to overturn that state's marriage discrimination amendment. Onward!

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