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Federal appeals court asked to let Michigan same-sex marriages resume

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Paul Sancya, APOakland County Clerk Lisa Brown signs a marriage license for Justin Flowers, middle, and Josh Redder after performing their wedding ceremony at the Oakland County Clerks office in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Paul Sancya, AP
Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown signs a marriage license for Justin Flowers, middle, and Josh Redder after performing their wedding ceremony at the Oakland County Clerks office in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday, March 22, 2014.

DETROIT –Attorneys who persuaded a judge to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage urged a higher court Tuesday to reject a request to freeze that decision.

A federal appeals court must decide whether to extend a temporary suspension of the decision, as sought by the state, or drop it and allow gay marriages to resume.

In a court filing, lawyers for two Detroit-area nurses who challenged the state’s gay marriage ban said a stay is inappropriate because the Michigan attorney general’s office is unlikely to win an appeal in the long run.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman last Friday struck down a 2004 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman. He said it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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“There are times when maintaining the status quo makes sense,” attorneys for Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer wrote. “There are also times when maintaining the status quo is merely a kinder label for perpetuating discrimination that should no longer be tolerated. The public interest in this case lies on the side of ending discrimination, promoting equality and human dignity and providing security for children.”

Hundreds of couples were married before the appeals court temporarily froze Friedman’s decision Saturday. The stay runs until Wednesday.

The nurses’ attorneys also claim that state lawyers flunked court procedure by failing last week to first ask the judge to suspend his decision.

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