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Former high-ranking Mich. Republicans support same-sex marriage

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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DETROIT — Former high-ranking Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are urging a federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriage in the state.

MichiganThey filed a brief Monday at the Cincinnati-based court, urging it to affirm a March decision that threw out Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The Republicans include former House Speaker Rick Johnson and former House Majority Leader Chris Ward, who cited the “big tent” view of their party and argued that marriage equality was consistent with longstanding GOP values of families, freedom and individual liberties.

They say denying marriage to same-sex couples runs counter to strengthening families, and that supporting marriage equality is a conservative position to take.

Former U.S. Rep. John “Joe” Schwartz has signed on, along with former state lawmakers Leon Drolet, Doug Hart, Dave Honigman and Susan Grimes Gilbert.

The former lawmakers join businesses, military, faith leaders and religious institutions, child advocacy organizations, as well as numerous legal scholars, who have submitted a total of 31 unique amicus briefs urging the court to put an end to Michigan’s laws that deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

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Among them, Marriott, eBay, Pfizer, Starbucks and television network CBS joined nearly 50 other businesses detailing the impact on employers of the unequal treatment mandated by states that refuse to permit or recognize legal marriages between same-sex couples.

“Leaders from all different backgrounds are wise to the evolving support Michiganders are voicing for the freedom to marry,” said Emily Dievendorf, executive director of Equality Michigan. “LGBT Michiganders want a fair chance at the American Dream and the freedom to raise their families under laws that give them an opportunity to contribute equally to our society.”

On March 21, a federal judge in Detroit struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, and the state appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

The appeals court plans to hear arguments on Aug. 6, along with similar cases from Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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