Petition drive in same-sex marriage fight

A petition for the state to drop its appeal of a judge's overruling of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban. (March 25, 2014)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Same-sex marriage supporters Tuesday prepared to deliver petitions asking state officials not appeal a judge’s ruling that threw out Michigan’s gay marriage ban.

“We are here today because we have gone back to the old after one beautiful, beautiful day,” said Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan.

Supporters of same-sex marriage say the people of Michigan are speaking to Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder through the over 14,000 petition signatures collected since Saturday.

“Michigan citizens are done with the attorney general’s fight against progress,” Dievendorf said.

They also want the state to recognize the 300 weddings performed before the U.S. Appellate Court issued a stay late Saturday and extended indefinitely by a federal appeals court Tuesday.

Supporters represented by a number of groups at Tuesday news conference in Lansing, including LGBT-advocacy group Equality Michigan and the American Civil Liberties Union say Schuette has a responsibility to uphold the U.S. Constitution — in this case the 14th Amendment,  which guarantees equal protection under the law.

“This isn’t the beginning of the legal discussion. It’s the end of a legal discussion,” said East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett. “The attorney general has no leg to stand on in arguing this is not a violation of the equal protection clause.”

But what about Schuette’s obligation to the other side? In 2004, Michigan voters approved the a ballot proposal that defined marriage in Michigan as between a man and a woman with 2.7 million ‘yes’ votes.

Same-sex marriage supporters say the equal protection clause outweighs voters’ opinion on the matter. And several states with so-called marriage protection laws have already seen those fall in court.

“This is not a radical concept. It’s the way our government works to protect the right of minority from the tyranny of the majority. Mr. Schuette knows that. Gov. Snyder knows that. And neither one of them are obligated to appeal this strongly worded decision from Judge (Bernard) Friedman,” ACLU Attorney Jay Kaplan said.

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