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Mich. AG defends same-sex marriage ban ‘out of respect for democracy’

Thursday, May 8, 2014
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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking a federal appeals court to uphold the state’s 2004 voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.

APAttorney General Bill Schuette (R-Mich.)

AP
Attorney General Bill Schuette (R-Mich.)

In a brief filed Wednesday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Schuette suggested judges come to the same finding as the U.S. Supreme Court on Michigan’s affirmative action ban. The high court recently ruled that Michigan voters had the right to prevent universities from using affirmative action in admissions decisions.

Schuette says the same should hold true in the same-sex marriage case because Michigan residents voted in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

“This appeal is also not about whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The district court did not reach that issue, correctly recognizing that marriage is a topic left to the people to decide at the ballot box,” Schuette wrote.

“Out of respect for democracy and to be consistent with the restrained and limited role of a federal court judging the rationality of a legislative choice left to the people, this Court should reverse.”

Michigan’s ban on gay marriage was declared unconstitutional in March by a Detroit federal judge. Hundreds of couples were married before the appeals court suspended the ruling a day later.

The case was brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a same-sex couple who fought for the right to marry and adopt each other’s children. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that the ban violated the couple’s rights under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs have until June 9 to file a response to Schuette’s brief.

Follow this case: DeBoer v. Snyder

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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