Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan

MASON, Mich. — Same-sex couples rushed to Michigan county clerk's offices Saturday to get hitched a day after a federal judge overturned the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, and several hundred did so before a federal appeals court reinstituted the ban, at least temporarily.

The order by an appeals court in Cincinnati came after Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, of Lansing, were the first to arrive at the Ingham County Courthouse in the central Michigan city of Mason. DeJong and Caspar, who have been together for 27 years, received their license and were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

"I figured in my lifetime it would happen," Caspar said. "But now, when it happens now, it's just overwhelming."

Similar nuptials followed one after another, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Those four — Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Wash­tenaw counties — issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.

Later, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals froze until at least Wednesday a decision by a lower court judge to overturn Michigan's ban. The appeals court said the timeout will "allow a more reasoned consideration" of the state's request to stop same-sex marriages.

The court's order was posted just a few hours after it told the winning side to respond to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's request for a stay by noon Tuesday.

In his appeal, Schuette noted the U.S. Supreme Court in January suspended a similar decision that struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same-sex marriage. Since December, bans on gay marriage also have been overturned in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.

Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan 03/22/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2014 12:12am]

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