March 21st, 2014 | Kate Willson News | Posted In: Gay Rights, Religion, Politics

Michigan Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban

motor_city_pride_2012_-_parade121Parade during Motor City Pride 2012 near Detroit Michigan's Hart Plaza

A federal judge today ruled Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

That makes it the ninth state in three months where courts have ruled in favor of same-sex couples seeking to marry, according to Freedom to Marry, a national advocacy organization that tracks the lawsuits pending in 28 states.

Oregon could soon join 17 states that allow same-sex marriage, when a belated legal challenge to the state's consitutional ban goes before a federal judge in April.

The Michigan decision says the state's ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

"The Court finds that the MMA impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest," the judge wrote."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."

The Detroit Free Press posted this touching video of the plaintiffs Jayne Rowse and her partner April DeBoer reacting to the decision.

A federal judge in Oregon will hear arguments next month on whether to strike down a similar ban constitutional that outlaws same-sex couples from marrying here. As in a number of other states including Virginia, Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will not defend the constitutional ban, voted into law in 2004. 

In her response to a motion for summary judgement earlier this week, Rosenblum writes:

The state defendants in this case have carefully analyzed the legal issues presented and find no satisfactory justification on which to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, which blocks those unions from not only the many federal benefits, but also the full societal recognition and support of marriage. However, it is not for these defendants to simply ordain that others should disregard the state’s constitutional provision. Instead, it is proper for these cases to proceed through the judicial system and to have a court determine the constitutionality of the ban and the proper remedy should it be declared unconstitutional.
 
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