- (Photo: Reuters/Rebecca Cook)
Michigan's governor has refused to recognize the gay marriage licenses issued after a judge declared the state's ban on same-sex unions unconstitutional.
Gov. Rick Snyder stated that the approximately 300 gay marriages performed last weekend after the decision but before the stay on the decision will not be legally recognized.
Snyder made the announcement Wednesday after an appeals court put a stay on the implementation of the recent ruling by federal Judge Bernard Friedman of Detroit.
"Snyder's announcement Wednesday closes the door to certain benefits granted to Michigan married couples," reported the Associated Press.
"Snyder says the marriages were legal at the time but the stay means the ban now is back in effect … It will take months for the appeals court to affirm or reject Friedman's opinion."
In 2004, several states including Michigan passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage by popular referendum.
For Michigan, the specific ballot question was titled Proposal 04-2 and passed with 59 percent of voters approving it.
"Amend the state constitution to provide that 'the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose'," read Proposal 04-2.
According to exit polling data from CNN, Proposal 04-2 received the support of 63 percent of males, 56 percent of females, 60 percent of whites, 59 percent of blacks, and 57 percent of union members.
As with other state level gay marriage bans, this one was taken to court with a challenge to its constitutionality.
Last weekend, Judge Friedman issued a 31-page ruling declaring the constitutional ban in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
"The Court finds that the [ban] impermissibly discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the provision does not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest," wrote Friedman.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, called Friedman's decision "an all-out assault on marriage, issuing rulings to redefine this foundational institution in violation of U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the rule of law."
Hundreds of gay couples proceeded to apply for marriage licenses in Michigan during the weekend as State Attorney General Bill Schuette sought a stay against the decision pending an appeal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit eventually granted a temporary stay for the decision as the appeals process continues.