Ann Arbor Joins Amicus Brief on Same-Sex Marriage

The Ann Arbor city council has approved a resolution that authorizes adding the city of Ann Arbor to a list of municipalities supporting an amicus brief in connection with the Deboer et al v Richard Snyder, et al case, which  now is now being heard before the the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Federal judge Bernard Friedman ruled  earlier this year, on March 21, 2014,  that Article I, Section 25 of the Michigan Constitution – which limits the benefits of marriage to unions between one man and one woman – did not advance any legitimate state interest. So the ruling had the effect of making same-sex marriages legal in Michigan.  The Ann Arbor city council’s action at its May 19, 2014 meeting was to authorize the inclusion of the city of Ann Arbor as a list of municipalities supporting the side of legal same-sex marriages.

The council’s May 19 resolution follows action approved earlier this year at the council’s April 7, 2014 meeting – to ask that Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette not appeal the ruling of judge Bernard Friedman on the Deboer et al v Richard Snyder, et al case

But the day following the decision, on March 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a temporary stay on Friedman’s ruling, as Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette appealed Friedman’s decision.

Before the stay on Friedman’s ruling took effect, Washtenaw County clerk Larry Kestenbaum opened his office for business on Saturday, March 22, and issued 74 marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Washtenaw County. The county board had already set the stage for those couples to receive what practically amounts to a fee waiver for the expedited processing of a license, which ordinarily takes three days. The “fee” approved by the board at its Feb. 19, 2014 meeting reduced the usual fee from $50 to 1 cent.

The resolution passed by the board on Feb. 19 allows the county clerk, consulting with the county administrator, to establish a “fee holiday” on the day preceding a period during which the office’s vital records division would be closed for four or more days, or when an unusual number of marriage license applicants are expected to appear. During a “fee holiday,” the charge for immediately processing a marriage license is 1 cent.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall located at 301 E. Huron.