ACLU files suit to recognize same-sex marriages

As 300 same-sex couples legally married in Michigan on March 22 continue to be stuck in legal limbo, a lawsuit that would require the State of Michigan to recognize the marriages is moving forward.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, of Michigan filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on Thursday, which is a continuance of their lawsuit filed in federal court April 14 that argues the state had "violated their due process and equal protection rights by refusing to recognize their lawful marriages," according to statement from ACLU Michigan.

The contention arose after a federal judge ruled Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The following day, March 22, 300 same-sex couples wedded in several locations around the state that opened their doors to them on a Saturday.

But later that day the state asked for a stay, which placed the ruling on hold until there was a decision on the state's appeal was made. After the hold, no other same-sex couples could marry and the 300 same-sex couples who legally married are not recognized by the state and receive none of the marriage benefits.

ACLU Michigan Staff Attorney Jay Kaplan said those who are legally married by the state are protected against being stripped of marriage recognition by the state.

“At the heart of this case is the fundamental right of lawfully married couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage,” Kaplan said in the statement. “The state cannot strip a married couple of recognition after it issues a valid marriage license.”

ACLU Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg said the appeal made by the state could take years to resolve, during which time their stay on recognizing those legally married would still be in place.

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