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1660 AM Kalamazoo, MI

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Kalamazoo officials react to same-sex ruling

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KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- Detroit Federal Judge Bernard Freidman has struck down Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. It follows rulings by other federal judges around the nation who have also cited the 14th Amendment right to equal protection, just before they tossed out local or state bans on same-sex marriage.

Michigan becomes the 18th state to either vote to allow gay marriage or have it imposed by the courts.

Meg Bower at the Gay Lesbian Resource Center in Kalamazoo says the celebrations began almost immediately. They salute the two nurses from Detroit, April Deboer and Jayne Rowse who were brave enough to bring the suit.

Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow says he is waiting to hear from the Attorney for the State’ Clerks Association before deciding what he will do Monday Morning, but the Clerk of Washtenaw County says they will open Saturday morning and start issuing marriage licenses.

State Rep. Sean McCann says until a higher court says otherwise gay marriage is the law and the Kalamazoo County Clerk should also begin offering licenses.

It was expected that Judge Friedman would issue the stay himself but that did not happen, setting off a scramble at the Attorney General’s office to file for one.

Until the sixth circuit court of appeals actually rules, Cooley Law School Professor Devon Shindler says clerks must issue licenses to gay couples.

Schindler says because Judge Friedman held a full hearing before making his decision, the higher court may be reluctant to issue a stay or a reversal. 

He says the Michigan Case will eventually go on the pile of similar rulings sitting at the U.S. Supreme Court, waiting for a ruling on the equal protection issue, and the question of same sex marriage will be settled once and for all.

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