Michigan same-sex marriage ban overturned, but not for long

PONTIAC, Mich. – We were “excited, nervous, just like everyone else would feel,” said Kim Hettinger and MaryAnn Northcote of Waterford.

Who could blame them? Although they had a church wedding 33 years ago, they had just picked up their marriage license at the county clerk’s office here and were about to be “really married.” Northcote said their pastor observed, “We’re putting the icing on the cake.”

Their “real marriage” came after Friday’s ruling in Detroit by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman striking down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages. In his groundbreaking ruling Friedman said the ban was unconstitutional. The views of those opposing same-sex marriage cannot “strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law,” the judge said.

At the Oakland County Clerk’s Office, hundreds rushed to get marriage licenses.

“We’ve been here since 10:30 and the line has been long the whole time,” said Northcote.

Hettinger and Northcote acted quickly because they feared the stay requested by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette might be granted.

Those fears were confirmed later Saturday when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati temporarily suspended marriages among Michigan’s gay couples until at least Wednesday.

Zack and Greg of Lathrup Village, who have been partners for 13 years, also came to pick up their license at the Oakland County office.

Zack called it a “historic date.” Reflecting on Michigan’s natural beauty, he noted that “We all live in a state that we love. It’s important that these types of things that stop others from seeing and enjoying the beauty of the state can now be overlooked. It’s a step in our history that’s passed and now we can get on and enjoy the rest of it.”

Expressing what many others were thinking Greg said, “I can’t believe the day is finally here. I kept saying that the whole ride here.”

Now, the hundreds of couples married that day are wondering if their marriages will be declared illegal by the Republican-controlled state government.

Photo: Greg and Zack await their license at the Oakland County Clerk’s Office on Friday. John Rummel/PW


John Rummel
John Rummel

John Rummel covers events in Michigan for the People's World. Following politics from a young age, John grew up in the Midwest, moved east and has now returned to his "roots." It's not politics-only for John; he loves sports, the outdoors and a cold beer or two!