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Posts tagged "Michigan"

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW


Marriage Equality Litigation At The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals: An Eventful Few Days For Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee

On this Wednesday, August 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will review same-sex marriage cases from each of the four states in its geographic area – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. A panel of three judges in Cincinnati will hear the landmark cases from the four states.


April DeBoer and her family, at the center of one of the cases from Michigan, will be participating in a couple of events before heading down to Cincinnati for Wednesday’s hearing. DeBoer and her partner of fourteen years, Jayne Rowse originally challenged Michigan’s same-sex marriageban in 2012 for the right to jointly adopt their children. Tuesday evening two simultaneous interfaith rallies will take place in Warren and Lansing, Michigan. Faith leaders from many congregations, including Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Jewish, American Baptist and more will give their blessings to all families. “From a faith perspective, marriage equality is about recognizing lifelong love and commitment within the full diversity of human experience,” said Reverend Mike Cooper, Inclusive Justice Board Member and Associate Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in Lansing.


Tennessee is already preparing to welcome marriage equality into the state. The Tennessee Equality Project Foundation is touring around the state through the month of August to make sure everyone is ready for the first days of marriage equality. The group is putting on information sessions for same-sex couples who would like to get married, allies who are interested in volunteering to help with safety and logistics, and clergy and elected officials who want to solemnize marriages.


On the eve of the hearing in Cincinnati, the Rally for Marriage will bring together people from all four states to cheer on marriage equality and build excitement for Wednesday’s events. According to Why Marriage Matters Ohio, this will be the largest marriage equality rally Ohio has ever seen, with attendees being encouraged to wear red in support of marriage equality. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is among the featured speakers, along with April DeBoer and her family.

And on the day of the hearing, there will be a March for Marriage Equality in front of the Cincinnati Federal Court House while the hearing takes place.

Wednesday will be a momentous day for individuals and families in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Attend one of the events in your area and be on the lookout for more news after Wednesday! And visit for the latest marriage equality news.

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

h/t: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos


Longtime Rep. John Conyers lost his appeal to a decision that took his name off of Michigan’s primary ballot for his current seat in the House. Conyers, if re-elected, would be the longest-serving current member of Congress. The current longest-serving member of Congress, Rep. John Dingell also of Michigan, will retire at the end of this term. 

How did the longtime Democratic Representative end up in this position? It has to do with Michigan’s strict laws governing who may appear on an election ballot. This year, Conyers faced a primary challenger: Rev. Horace Sheffield, from Detroit. Both Sheffield and Conyers had to collect a certain number of valid signatures in order to get a spot on the August 5 primary ballot. At first, it looked like both had succeeded. That is, until Sheffield challenged the validity of several of Conyers’s signature collectors, on the grounds that they may not have been registered voters at the time they were working for the campaign. It’s a strange rule, but it’s still the rule. As it turns out, two of Conyers’s signature collectors didn’t meet that requirement, meaning that all of the signatures they collected — including those deemed as valid signatures from voters in the 13th district — were invalidated. 

Then, the Wayne County Clerk’s office announced that without those signatures, Conyers’s campaign didn’t have enough to make it on the ballot: ”I am bound by the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan that set forth very specific and narrow instructions regarding candidate petitions and the authority of the County Clerk,” Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said earlier in May. Conyers had the right under Michigan law to appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State, but that appeal did not go in his favor. 

As the Associated Press notes, Conyers has one last hope for an intervention here: at the request of his campaign, a federal judge is expected to rule later today on whether the law itself is constitutional. Unless that decision goes in his favor, however, Conyers has to hope that he can pull together enough write-in votes to keep his career going after nearly 50 years in office.

Source: Abby Ohlheiser for The Wire

Jessica Prince, the lady who threw a slushie at homophobic extremist kook Christine Weick, is a hero for what she did to her and is a reminder that bigoted extremism has consequences. 

h/t: Cavan Sieczkowski at HuffPost

h/t: Samatha Lachman at HuffPost Politics 

By a 6 to 2 vote, the divided court concluded that neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court precedents provide authority for the courts to overturn Michigan laws that allow the voters to determine whether racial preferences may be considered in decisions such as school admissions.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW


Image APSame sex couples are married in a group by the Oakland County Clerk in Pontiac, Michigan.  (AP)

The federal government will recognize the 300-odd same-sex marriages performed over the weekend in Michigan after a federal judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. That’s despite Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement this week that his state will not recognize those marriages, citing a stay on the court decision issued last Saturday. 

The federal government’s decision was announced on Friday morning by Attorney General Eric Holder, who noted that federal recognition means those couples “will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.” He added: 

“Last June’s decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor was a victory for equal protection under the law and a historic step toward equality for all American families.  The Department of Justice continues to work with its federal partners to implement this decision across the government.  And we will remain steadfast in our commitment to realizing our country’s founding ideals of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.”

Holder’s decision consistent with the government’s stance towards 1,300 married same-sex couples in Utah, who face a similar limbo of federal, but not state, recognition of their marriages while a court battle over a state ban continues. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced in January that his administration considers those marriages “on hold” until the issue is resolved. Similarly, Snyder’s statement announcing the state’s position acknowledges that the couples who married on Saturday “had a legal marriage.” But with the restoration of the state ban, he argued, Michigan was not obligated to recognize those marriages. 

Utah and Michigan bucked an earlier trend among states with contested same-sex marriages. Both California and New Mexico (states that now permanently recognize gay marriage) have recognized marriages performed during temporary windows where same-sex marriage was legal. In California, for instance, the state recognized the 18,000 same-sex couples who married after a state court legalized same sex marriage, but before voters passed Proposition 8. 

Source: Abby Ohlheiser for The Wire

With Mike Rogers retiring, this seat [MI-08] goes to tossup. 


The temporary stay issued after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s law banning same-sex marriage has been extended until the state completes the appeals process.

That process could take some time. While Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told the Grand Rapids Press that he hoped the case would be resolved “as quickly as possible,” he has said that he will pursue the appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Some state attorney generals have declined to pursue a defense of same-sex marriage bans. Others have fought against those bans.

But Schuette is in the middle of a re-election campaign and is making his fight against same-sex marriage part of his platform, even writing an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press about it today:

Moreover, Michigan’s voters had a rational basis for their vote: Marriage has been understood to be between one man and one woman by virtually all civilizations throughout the centuries. The notion that marriage would be anything else has only emerged in the last few decades. It is not irrational for voters to support the belief that a mom and a dad are not interchangeable.


But I also know that there is a difference between a buffet and the state’s constitution. This fundamental document is not a cafeteria in which you can pick and choose which measures are enforced and defended.

That is why I am defending Detroit’s cops’ and firefighters’ rights to their pensions, because the Michigan Constitution says pensions shall not be ‘diminished or impaired.’

That is why I went to the United States Supreme Court to defend equal treatment in admissions to our state’s outstanding colleges and universities. Because it is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity.

Yes, he did somehow manage to be against same-sex marriage but for “equal treatment” in the very same letter. Treating someone differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity is fundamentally wrong. Treating someone differently on the basis of sexual orientation is rational. Also, something about public safety officials shoehorned in to try to get more votes.

In the meantime, same-sex couples cannot get married in the state, and the 300 or so who managed to get in the seven-hour window before the ruling was stayed still don’t know whether or not their marriages will actually be recognized by the state. They will, at least, be entitled to federal marriage benefits.

There was hope that Gov. Rick Snyder would make a decision whether or not the state would recognize those marriages by now, but he has so far declined to do so. His spokeswoman said he “doesn’t want to get distracted by issues that could divert his attention from jobs and the economy.”

Source: Sara Morrison for The Wire


Emails Show Republican Governor Used State Budget To Boost Profits For Family Member


On March 24, 2014, the Michigan Democratic Party released emails that show Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, along with his former budget director and current adviser, colluded to give a massive taxpayer funded subsidy to a member of the governor’s family.

Cousin George’s furniture business got a big boost in Rick Snyder’s budget.

Governor Rick Snyder’s CEO cousin, George Snyder’s business partners received more than $19 million dollars, after jotting off a quick email to cousin Rick, on April 29th, 2011. Since 2011, the share of the taxpayer budget going to George Snyder’s industry has ballooned to $41 million. What is George Snyder’s industry? Office furniture.