Reagan picked ‘activist judge’ who threw out Mich. same-sex marriage ban

U.S District Judge Bernard Friedman Staff Reports

DETROIT — The judge who made history by throwing out Michigan‘s ban on same-sex marriage has been on the federal bench for 26 years.

Bernard Friedman

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman

Bernard Friedman was appointed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. The 70-year-old Friedman was a District Court judge in Oakland County before getting a big promotion to federal court in Detroit.

Friedman was the court’s chief judge for 4 ½ years until 2009.

On Friday, Friedman released his 31-page ruling exactly two weeks after a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children. The challenge was brought by two Detroit-area nurses originally seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban on joint adoptions by gay couples.

The judge noted that supporters of same-sex marriage believe the Michigan ban was at least partly the result of animosity toward gays and lesbians.

Conservative opponents of same-sex marriage have frequently labeled judges as “activist judges” for striking down gay marriage bans.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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