U.S. District Judge Bernard Judge Friedman on March 21, 2014, issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Michigan.
In 2004, Michigan voters OK’d a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Since that time, public opinion had turned around in the state with polling showing a majority supported marriage equality.
A Michigan couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, filed suit challenging the state’s ban on LGBT adoption with then-Gov. Rick Snyder as the lead defendant. Then-Attorney General Bill Schuette, a fellow Republican and a longtime opponent of LGBT rights, zealously defended the case.
Friedman said the suit, DeBoer v. Snyder, also dealt with the fundamental issue of same-sex marriage. On March 21, 2014, he ruled that such marriages were legal. Now-Attorney General Dana Nessel was the lead attorney representing DeBoer and Rowse.
Later on March 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a stay, thus ending the window for legal same-sex marriage.
The Michigan case was rolled into Obergefell v. Hodges, which ended up before the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 26, 2015, the High Court ruled that marriage equality was legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Advance will have more on the five-year anniversary of the first same-sex marriages in Michigan on Friday.