On the one day the gay marriage ban was lifted, about 300 Michigan gay couples were married before an appeals court blocked a ruling legalizing the unions in the same day. Governor Rick Synder announces that the couples wedded that day will be recognized and will receive the same benefits as other couples.
Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban was intact until March 21, 2014 when a federal judge struck down the 2004 voter-approved ban on gay marriage after a nine-day federal trial. The day after, same-sex couples in four counties had their wedding. But shortly after, a majority ruling from a three-judge federal appeals court panel in Cincinnati resulted to the state reverting to its same-sex marriage ban.
It’s a Long Time Coming
The first same-sex couple to marry in Michigan is Glenna DeJong and her wife, Marsha Caspar. They rushed to the Ingham County clerk’s office in Mason south of Lansing after the March ruling and happily wedded. For Dejong, “It’s a long time coming.”
“It takes a great weight off our shoulders,” Frank Colasonti Jr. described when he and his partner, married at the Oakland County clerk’s office in Pontiac, north of Detroit. Colosanti can now name James B. Ryder, as his husband, and a beneficiary and survivor for insurance purposes.
Lisa Ulrey and Donna Demarco, says it means more than just the taxes and insurance services. They were also among the couples who married in March and are now eager about getting joint legal custody of their 16-year-old daughter. “It opens the door for a lot of the rights we deserve,” they were quoted as saying.
Governor Synder, in a statement, put emphasis on the judge’s decision, that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and the couples will receive state marriage benefits. Michigan couples who are legally married can file joint income taxes and health insurance coverage, adopt children together, enjoy pension benefits and other state benefits.
Spokesperson Dave Murray said the Governor sent word “to all cabinet members directing them to work within their departments to implement the change and extend all necessary benefits and legal recognitions” to the married same-sex couples. Synder goes on further to say that, “It’s vitally important for an expedient resolution that will allow people in Michigan, as well as other states, to move forward together.”
Gay couples have long argued that they are not being given the full rights and benefits related to insurance, taxes, hospital visitation, pensions and adoption they deserve because of their sexual orientation.