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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters, Detroit, Michigan

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Board in Detroit or St. Clair Shores and marry legally in Canadian waters! or get married on the US side now that marriage equality has come to Michigan!

See the Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Michigan

Anti-LGBT Bills Become Law in Michigan, North Carolina

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Two states enshrined anti-LGBT discrimination into law yesterday, legalizing dangerously broad “religious freedom” aka right to discriminate laws.

The first one was North Carolina, where the House rushed through a veto override with no time for discussion. The Washington Blade reports:

North Carolina Map

The North Carolina legislature has succeeded in overriding Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of controversial legislation that would enable magistrates to opt out of performing marriages to which they have religious objection, including a same-sex union. The override succeeded in the House on Thursday by a vote of 69-41, which is three votes more than the three-fifths vote needed for the legislative maneuver. The Senate already succeeded in overriding the veto last week by a vote of 32-16. The legislation, Senate Bill 2, would enable magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of issuing marriage licenses for a period of at least six months to same-sex couples — or any couple — based on a religious objection.

Up north in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder wasted no time signing his own state’s bills. The Washington Blade reports:

Michigan

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law on late Thursday morning a package of religious freedom bills seen to enable anti-LGBT legislation in the state’s adoption agencies. Snyder announced he had signed the legislation — House Bills 4188, 4189, 4190 — just one day after the Michigan Senate approved the bills. The Michigan House already passed the bills in March. In a statement, Snyder said he signed the legislation as a means to ensure children without homes in Michigan have access to families to care for them. The new laws are set to go into effect in 90 days.”

Let’s be clear that the laws in both states allow someone to refuse service to anyone, not just gays and lesbians, based on their own personal religious beliefs.

The Four Worst Supreme Court Arguments on Marriage

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Matt BaumeMichigan says that they don’t want to let gay people get married because that would be demeaning to gay people.

Kentucky says that their marriage ban isn’t discriminatory, since LGBTs are free to get straight-married.

Ohio wants to maintain its marriage ban out of concern for the people who voted for it. And Tennessee is just fixated on sex.

By Matt Baume – Full Story at AFER

US Supreme Court Takes Four Marriage Equality Cases

Friday, January 16th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

This is huge – the Supremes just took all four cases from the Sixth Circuit:

The Supreme Court has just granted certiorari — i.e. agreed to hear oral arguments — in the Sixth Circuit marriage cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. They were consolidated. This means that the question of whether or not the United States Constitution protects the freedom of same-sex couples to marry is likely to be decided by the end of June. The Supreme Court order, issued this afternoon at approximately 3:30 PM, contains the following instructions: The cases are consolidated and the petitions for writs of certiorari are granted.

We should know by June if the whole US has marriage equality!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Michigan Domestic Partnership Ban Overturned

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

MichiganA federal judge has finally officially overturned Michigan’s ban on getting benefits for couples in domestic partnerships.

Think Progress reports:

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s law banning the same-sex partners of public employees from receiving benefits is unconstitutional. The law in question was passed just back in 2011. It specifically infringed on municipalities that were already providing benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of city employees. Five couples whose benefits were cut by the law’s passage filed the complaint that led to this decision. Judge David Lawson, a Clinton appointee, pointed out that the marriage rulings are not relevant in this case because “this is case is not about marriage.” Rather, he wrote, it has to do with whether a state “may adopt a narrow definition of family, and pass laws that penalize those unions and households that do not conform.” Only public employees with same-sex partners are impacted by the law, he explained, and it imposes a significant financial burden on them by cutting their benefits.

It’s a small but symbolic victory for the LGBT community in a state that was just burned by the anti-marriage equality decision at the 6th Circuit. And it has huge ramifications for the couples involved.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

New Poll Shows Michigan Voters Evenly Split on Marriage Equality

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

titleA new poll shows that Michigan voters are about equally split on the marriage equality issue.

Mlive.com reports:

Michigan voters appear perfectly split on a potential 2016 ballot proposal to allow same-sex marriage by amending the state constitution. If the issue was on the ballot and the election was held today, 47 percent said they would approve a gay marriage amendment, while 47 percent would vote “no,” according to a new statewide poll by EPIC-MRA. Michigan voters approved an amendment to ban gay marriage in 2004, but it’s possible talk of opening up the constitution turned some people off. Other polls have suggested a small majority of residents support the general “right of gay and lesbian couples to be legally married.”

Let’s hope marriage equality comes to the state sooner rather than later, as support continues to increase.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.

In-Depth Analysis of the Sixth Circuit Hearing

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Sixth CircuitSitting in the federal courtroom in Cincinnati, listening to the Sixth Circuit arguments in six same-sex marriage cases, one theme seemed especially prevalent: state defenders of same-sex marriage bans argued that the issue should be left up to “the democratic process”, and their concerns were shared by Judge Jeffrey Sutton.

Judge Sutton asked the plaintiffs’ lawyer in one case, “assuming you win,” isn’t it better and more honest to win by way of the democratic process? Sutton, whose background is in leading litigation that promoted federalism, alternatively wondered aloud whether LGBT people should win their rights by changing every person’s mind, and whether states are permitted to move one step at a time, addressing issues incrementally, even though their approach may leave some groups without protection for long periods of time.

A short and rhetorical answer to this problem is Justice Jackson’s opinion in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, in which he said that “fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” That was one answer given by the plaintiffs. Judge Sutton seemed to suggest in his comments that the “dignity” that Justice Kennedy addressed in United States v. Windsor was tied to the fact that in New York, there was a decision by the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Without the state’s approval, he seemed to be saying, the win is less legitimate.

There are several problems with this line of thinking, and ultimately the Sixth Circuit may not adopt it because of those problems.

Authored By Scottie Thompson – See the Full Story at Equality on Trial

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Sixth Circuit Hears Marriage Equality Cases From Four States

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit heard marriage equality cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee yesterday.

Freedom to Marry has a nice collection of quotes from the decisions that got the cases here:

“Once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot take your marriage away, because the right t remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.” –Obergefell v. Wymyslo ruling, Ohio

“No one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages, individually or collectively. One’s belief to the contrary, however sincerely held, cannot alone justify denying a selected group their constitutional rights.” Bourke v. Beshear ruling, Kentucky

“In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. Today’s decision affirms the enduring principle that regardless of who finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.” Deboer v Snyder ruling, Michigan

Joe.My.God also has a couple videos from the marriage equality rally before the hearing:

During the hearing, at least one of the judges, Martha Daughtrey, openly mocked Mark Regnerus, author of a discredited study on gay parenting (from a reporter’s tweet and notes):

“Even the Texas professor’s University doesn’t believe anything this man says… What harm comes? It doesn’t look like the sky has fallen in other cases.”

Judge Daughtrey also pressed a Michigan Attorney on the comparison between bans on same sex marriage and interracial marriage.

She also pressed him to differentiate between banning same-sex marriage and prohibiting interracial marriage, which was prevalent in many states until a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia. “That was a vote by the people of many states against interracial marriage,” she said. Lindstrom countered that race doesn’t play a role in the fundamental definition of marriage.

The two GOP appointees on the panel appeared to give some weight to the “will of the people” argument, while the Democratic appointee appeared to clearly favor marriage equality:

Republican appointee Judge Jeffrey Sutton repeatedly questioned whether voters rather than courts should decide whether gay marriage is legal. Sutton is respected within legal circles and his views could help sway the five conservative members of the Supreme Court. The panel’s sole Democratic appointee, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, was the only member who clearly signaled support for plaintiffs seeking recognition for gay marriage. The third judge, Deborah Cook, gave fewer indications of where she stood. But like Sutton, Cook indicated that deference should be given to voters.

The New York Times has their own take on the three judges:

Judge Sutton did suggest that the arguments offered against marriage equality were weak, saying that marriage bans would be hard to defend if subjected to the intense “heightened scrutiny” that courts apply when fundamental civil rights are at stake. But he also wondered whether legal precedents in the Sixth Circuit and the Supreme Court should prevent the panel from declaring same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right deserving court intervention.

In often caustic questions, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, the Clinton appointee, left no doubt where she stood. When the lawyer for Michigan said that the courts should not tamper with an institution as deeply rooted as marriage, she replied that bans on interracial marriage were also deeply rooted before the Supreme Court found them unconstitutional. “That was the law across a huge swath of the Southern states,” she said.

The third judge, Deborah L. Cook, another Bush appointee, spoke little during the unusual proceeding in which one state’s case followed another without any breaks. But she seemed to favor the right of states to ban same-sex marriage.

The audio files for the hearings have now been posted.

So now we wait for a few months for the rulings. Yes, two judges were GOP appointees, but there are a number of GOP-appointed judges among those who have ruled for marriage equality over the last year.

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Sixth Circuit to Hear Six Marriage Equality Cases From Four States Today

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Sixth Circuit

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in a series of marriage equality cases today from the jurisdiction’s four constituent states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. It is an unprecedented coming together of marriage equality litigation that has the potential to change the destiny of marriage in the federal courts for several reasons:

First, these cases cover the entire Sixth Circuit and any decision could affect all of them directly, even if a decision is stayed pending appeal to the Supreme Court. We have seen this happen in the Fourth Circuit, where the appellate court overturns a ban on marriage equality and other states in the circuit, North Carolina and West Virginia, either stop defending their own bans or take other pro-equality actions because they see the writing on the wall even though the decision is stayed pending appeal.

Second, the three-judge panel reflects the right-of-center tilt of the circuit, consisting of a Clinton appointee and two George W. Bush appointees, one of whom has made his fiercely conservative views public.

And, third, as the third federal appeals court to hear a post-Windsor marriage case — after the Tenth (the Utah case) and the Fourth (the Virginia case), but before the Seventh (on August 26), the Ninth (on September 8), and at some point, the Fifth — the Sixth Circuit is being watched to determine if a pattern is emerging among the circuits or if there will be a split among the panels.

Authored By Ari Ezra Waldman – See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

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Michigan Marriage Equality Lawsuit Gets a Boost – From the GOP

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

MichiganA group of republicans, including the former House leader who pushed for a ban on Michigan marriage equality, has submitted a brief in favor of it.

The Macomb Daily reports:

An unlikely coalition of Republicans, business executives, military officials, religious leaders and the former Michigan Speaker of the House who initially pushed for a ban on gay marriage has filed briefs in federal court supporting the March 21 ruling that briefly struck down Michigan’s restrictions on same-sex couples’ right to marry… “As conservatives, moderates and libertarians we embrace the individual freedoms protected by our Constitution,” said Rick Johnson, the former GOP speaker who paved the way for the gay marriage issue to make its way to the 2004 statewide ballot. “We embrace Ronald Reagan’s belief that the Republican Party must be a ‘big tent.’ We believe in the importance of limited government, individual freedom and stable families. We believe that these values are advanced by recognizing civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.”

Ever so slowly, Republicans are coming around to marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Michigan.