On Friday, March 21, Federal Court Judge Bernard Friedman handed down a ruling which declared Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage unconstitutional. Starting Saturday morning, several counties opened their clerks offices to issue licenses to same sex couples. By that evening, the 6th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a stay, ending the practice. In the intervening hours, about 300 same gender couples had been married.
With the stay issued, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has ordered state agencies not to recognize the licenses issued Saturday. The only thing to be read into this action? The GOP will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
Even with the examples of California (marriages performed between the state’s Supreme Court ruling on Prop 22 and the passage of Prop 8 were deemed legal and binding upon the state) and Utah (where the Federal Government is recognizing as valid marriages conducted before the stay in that case was ordered), Snyder is refusing to recognize legally performed marriages. This puts in limbo the couples who were married Saturday, and may prevent things as mundane as name changes at the DMV, to high priority things like adoptions and tax filings.
It seems no matter how many times marriage equality wins in court (and now with Washington’s ballot initiative by vote), the GOP is determined to throw up as many roadblocks as possible, regardless of the legality or morality of their actions. The only reason I can see for these actions is crassly political. These people aren’t stupid, they know they’re eventually going to lose completely, so the only reason to be so obstinate is to appease a certain segment of their voter base.
They are sowing turmoil in the lives of their LGBTQ constituents simply to toss bones to the religious and political far-right, and be able to claim they “fought the good fight” and no doubt crowing about “doing God’s work” in the process. In the meantime, real people’s lives are harmed.
These kind of actions are why I don’t understand how any member of the LGBTQ community can support the GOP. Conservative I can understand, but not Republican. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in marriage as an issue, the clear message the GOP is sending to us is “if you won’t die, and we can’t stone you, get back into your closet!”
I’m not sure how the current self-destruction of the GOP will affect the future of marriage equality across the nation, but it does have the rather interesting prospect of making our struggle to drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st century a bit easier. As the party disintegrates, it will have less energy and fewer actors in positions of power trying to block equality. With a dwindling base willing to throw the first stone at “the gay”, it might be less of a sure thing and more of a political hot potato.
It’s becoming more difficult to be the one who stands up and answers the minister’s call, “if anyone can give good reason…”. More people are deciding to “keep their peace” and enjoy the wedding, rather than stand alone and scream “God Hates Fags!”.