Federal Judge strikes down Michigan ban on same-sex marriage

6a00d8341bf80c53ef01901df0a0f0970b-piThe U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has  struck down Michigan’s state ban on same-sex marriage. Federal Judge Overturns Michigan’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage:

A federal judge has overturned Michigan’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage. In the decision, Judge Bernard Friedman, a Reagan appointee, argued that this is a case about people’s equal protection, lauding the couple that brought the case for the sacrifices they’ve made to raise their children:

In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.

Michigan’s trial was unique because it included testimony from a panel of experts, and the state brought in several researchers that have been responsible for fueling conservatives’ claims that children of same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by a married mom and dad. Outlining the case’s findings of fact, Judge Friedman rejected the anti-gay researchers’ claims, saying in particular of Mark Regnerus’s testimony that it was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration”:

 

Marks, Price, and Allen all failed to concede the importance of “convenience sampling” as a social science research tool. They, along with Regnerus, clearly represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields. The most that can be said of these witnesses’ testimony is that the “no differences” consensus has not been proven with scientific certainty, not that there is any credible evidence showing that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples.

In other words, though the research on same-sex parenting is still advancing, nothing worth considering has yet contradicted the consensus that same-sex couples make just as effective parents as their heterosexual counterparts.

Friedman’s decision follows similar rulings in Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, and Utah.

The state of Michigan has already filed its appeal of the decision.

UPDATE: Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSblog, UPDATED: Michigan same-sex marriages blocked :

UPDATE Saturday 5:31 p.m.  After same-sex couples began to obtain marriage licenses and were married, the Sixth Circuit on Saturday afternoon temporarily blocked the judge’s order permitting those marriages.  It did so to give the court of appeals time to consider the state’s plea for a postponement during appeal.  The Saturday order will keep the issue on hold through Wednesday; a response to the state’s plea is due Tuesday.  News reports in Michigan said that more than three hundred licenses were issued to gay or lesbian couples, and some fifty marriages were performed.

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