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Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan
6th Circuit » Following Utah’s example, Michigan stalls same-sex unions in appeals court.


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A county sheriff’s sergeant walked through the line handing out license applications. Where the form asked for the name of the "male," lesbian couples wrote in an "f" and an "e" in front of the word.

Once paper licenses were approved by the clerk and his staff, couples headed downstairs to a room filled with pastors and a judge.

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A Unitarian Universalist church in Muskegon in western Michigan had a clerk issuing wedding licenses Saturday morning. They started a couple hours earlier than planned out of concern the court would approve a stay.

"We’re trying to beat Bill Schuette to the punch," said Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation Pastor Bill Freeman, who officiated at least eight weddings.

That sentiment was echoed in Mason by Joe Bissell and Justin Maynard, both 33-year-old Lansing residents, who were among more than 50 couples to get a license.

"We wouldn’t have been here today if it wasn’t for that," Bissell said. "We would’ve invited friends and family and not pissed off our mothers."

Not among those getting married Saturday were the two who started it all.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Detroit-area nurses who are raising three children with special needs, filed a lawsuit in 2012 because they’re barred from jointly adopting each other’s children. Joint adoption is reserved for married heterosexual couples in Michigan.

Their lawsuit sparked the two-week trial that culminated with Friday’s decision.

Their lawyer, Dana Nessel said she was "not shocked," by the appeals courts actions.


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"I am disappointed because it would have been great for people ... in all 83 counties to be able to go in and get a marriage license," she said. "Unfortunately only four (clerk’s) offices were open because it was a Saturday, and they had to make special provisions."

Regardless, DeBoer and Rowse had said they would wait to wed, even though the appeals process could take years.

"We will be getting married — when we know that our marriage is forever binding," DeBoer said.



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