Michigan's same-sex marriage ban was overturned Friday in a court ruling that rejected all of the state's arguments that voters made a rational decision in approving the law in 2004.
Two years after a Hazel Park couple challenged the state's adoption laws in a case that would evolve into a challenge of the gay marriage ban, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman issued a ruling that went as far as praising the plaintiffs for looking to protect the rights of children of same-sex couples.
"It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up 'to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives,'" Friedman wrote in his decision, quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in the June 2013 ruling that struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"Today's decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail."
The judge rejected state arguments that voters rationally sought to promote an "optimal environment" for child rearing; to "proceed with caution" before altering marriage law; and to "uphold tradition and morality."
"None of these proffered reasons provides a rational basis for adopting the amendment," wrote Friedman. "... Prohibiting gays and lesbians from
marrying does not stop them from forming families and raising children. Nor does prohibiting same-sex marriage increase the number of heterosexual marriages or the number of children raised by heterosexual parents. There is, in short, no logical connection between banning same-sex marriage and providing children with an 'optimal environment' or achieving 'optimal outcomes.'"
Friedman also panned testimony from expert witnesses brought by the state during the trial.
The plaintiff's attorneys called a number of social scientists to the stand who cited studies that found no difference in health and academic success when comparing children of same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
The state in its defense of the law countered with several more experts who cited different studies indicating disadvantages for children of gay parents.
"State defendants cited a small number of outlier studies in support of the optimal child-rearing rationale," Friedman wrote.
He found that those studies failed to "account for the fact that many of the subjects who were raised in same-sex households experienced prior incidents of family instability (e.g., divorce or separation) or were initially placed in the foster care system."
And he found that the fact that 2.7 million voters approved the law didn't matter when it came to deciding constitutionality.
"Further, the Court rejects the contention that Michigan’s traditional definition of
marriage possesses a heightened air of legitimacy because it was approved by voter referendum," the judge wrote. "The popular origin of the MMA does nothing to insulate the provision from constitutional scrutiny."
"It's great that Judge Friedman made a common sense decision that in Michigan, every loving, committed couple should be treated equally under the law," said Lon Johnson, Michigan Democratic Party Chair. "But it's appalling that Republican politicians Rick Snyder and Bill Schuette wasted our tax dollars on an embarrassing, flailing attempt to protect a hateful, bigoted marriage ban. Michigan families deserve leaders who will stand up for what's right. Our state needs leaders like Mark Schauer and Gary Peters, who will work to build a stronger, more welcoming Michigan for everyone."
LGBT Caucus Statement
"We're excited and encouraged by Judge Friedman's ruling today which makes our great state the 18th to be on the side of equality for all of its citizens. Those of us in Michigan's LGBT Community have long fought for this outcome today, which is a significant step toward true fairness, whether it be in the workplace, public accommodations or our homes."
“Equality and love prevailed over injustice and hate today. I am overjoyed that Judge Friedman found Michigan’s discriminatory ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and appropriately tossed it aside. With today’s historic ruling, Michigan joins a growing number of other states in recognizing that everyone should be treated equally under the law, including the right to marry whom you love.
Today Michigan Democrats are protesting Christie's visit to our state, and releasing a new video connecting former Republican National Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land to the embattled New Jersey Gov., to show how they are both wrong for Michigan.
Christie is the subject of multiple state and federal investigations. Land faces a potential investigation herself for coordinating with outside special interest groups like the Koch Brothers, who have spent more than $2.3 million to help her buy Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat. She also refuses to comment on her failed record as Secretary of State illegally purging voting records.
2014 is a critical election year for our state.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is badly out of touch with middle class Michiganders, and isn't on your side. He's put the wealthy and well-connected ahead of working people. He balanced the budget and raised taxes on middle class families and seniors, all while giving a massive tax break to corporations. And he's cut over $1 billion from education, hurting our state's competitiveness and weakening our schools.
It's time for our voices to be heard - and for us to vote Gov. Snyder out of office.
That's why I am working with the Michigan Democratic Party and Fifth District residents like you to bring together Democrats on April 5th for a special grassroots planning retreat.
Can you join me at the planning retreat to plan for action on April 5th? At the retreat, we'll hear from MDP staff about how Democrats can win in 2014, with your help. I'll be at the retreat, along with other Michigan elected officials, and I hope you can join us:
UAW Region 1C
1940 W. Atherton Rd
Flint, MI 48507
November is just around the corner, and we need to start organizing now to win.Join us April 5th in Flint for a grassroots planning retreat so we can turn Michigan blue this year.
Onward to victory,
Congressman Dan Kildee
SAGINAW, MI — State Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes has made it official: She will not seek reelection to Michigan House of Representative so she instead can run for Michigan Senate.
Oakes, D-Saginaw, has been state representative of the 95th District for more than three years. She officially announced Monday, Feb. 24, that she will not seek reelection to that seat, instead pursuing election to the State Senate.
"Like all of us, my journey began long before I was born," Oakes said.
"My father, James Erwin Sr., was born in Henderson, Texas, in December of 1924. And my mother, who I'm so happy ... to have here with me today, Maggie Erwin, was born in Yazoo, Miss., in June of 1936."
During the campaign announcement at the Saginaw County Governmental Center, the state lawmaker paused with emotion as she talked about growing up under the strong influence of her parents. Her mother attended the event, in support of the youngest daughter.Oakes' parents came to Saginaw during the Great Migration to the region in hopes of building a better life for themselves and their families, she said.
"My parents, of course, are my heroes," Oakes said.
Resources 'shipped out'
James and Maggie Erwin met and raised their family in a neighborhood on Saginaw's East Side, their daughter said.
"I never thought I would see the day where a girl from Ninth and Tuscola would be elected for positions to represent parts of Saginaw County," Oakes said.
She said she had a good childhood, during which she remembers being able to walk through her neighborhood "without fear" both day and night.
"I remember those times very fondly," Oakes said. "It was a very different time."
She said that, over time, jobs, resources and opportunities have been "shipped out of" neighborhoods like hers.
Oakes said her mission in the state Legislature has been and would continue to be to fight to bring those resources back to places like Saginaw. She said that help can come in the form of tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, low-interest loans for Main Street businesses, new links between job training and local business and restoration of state education funding.
"We can do something," Oakes said. "My vision for Michigan is one where we can all come together, collectively, to pass common-sense legislation to affect change regardless of our beliefs or differences."
PLEASE JOIN US FOR A FUNDRAISER FOR MARK SCHAUER, MICHIGAN'S NEXT GOVERNOR
COME AND MEET MARK, AND HEAR ABOUT HIS VISION FOR MICHIGAN
FEBRUARY 24, 2014
116 S HAMILTON
$100 - HOST, $50 - SPONSOR, $20 - PATRON
PLEASE RSVP IF POSSIBLE
CONTACT: MIKE HANLEY - 989 798-3903
PLEASE MAKE CHECKS TO "MARK SCHAUER FOR GOVERNOR"
SAGINAW AREA DEMOCRATIC CLUB
ANNUAL PANCAKE BREAKFAST
CHEF JOHN SWEENEY
ALL YOU CAN EAT!
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2014
8 - 11 AM
1420 S MICHIGAN AVE
ADULTS: $10 - CPLS: $15 - CHILDREN UNDER 12: $5
GOOD FOOD, GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD CAUSE
Over 90% of all money raised goes to help Democratic candidates!
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson issued the following statement on President Obama's State of the Union address:
"Tonight, we saw a clear contrast between Democrats' efforts to build a strong middle class by rewarding hard work and creating new opportunities by investing in our people, and the Republicans' tired agenda of giving even more special breaks and tax cuts for those at the top that don't need them. The State of the Union address was a great example of our shared values of fairness, hard work, responsibility and optimism. These are Michigan values. Republican politicians should support common sense measures to promote equal opportunity for everyone in Michigan, like increasing our minimum wage and reversing Rick Snyder's new taxes on seniors, the poor and middle-class families. Michigan needs leaders like Gary Peters and Mark Schauer, who will work to invest in and protect our state's three greatest assets - our people, our land and our Great Lakes - so that we can build a stronger state for everyone."
The speech is over, but the work of 2014 is just beginning. Join Us!
The Saginaw County Democratic Party Christmas Potluck/Meeting will be 7 PM, Thursday, December 12 @ headquarters 122 N Michigan. We hope you will bring Christmas gifts/cash for our adopted family. You were so kind to our adopted family for Thanksgiving, (11 boxes of non perishable food and a turkey, I'm sure you will shower them with gifts for Christmas.
Boy 16 - Jeans 36/32 and shirts large
Boy 12 - (dyslexic) Educational games, books, flash cards, needs help with reading
Girl 9 - Likes to color, make bracelets, spiral games. Jeans & pants (size 14/16), sox(sz 6-9), little girl's nail polish/make up
Mom - Toilet paper, laundry soap, shampoo, body soap, paper towels, food
These are the mom's and children's personal requests. Maybe their choices can help you decide on other items also.
Since it is a Christmas potluck/meeting, I will send out a separate email regarding foods needed for our evening potluck.
ONCE AGAIN, SAGINAW COUNTY DEMOCRATS SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY!
Thank you for all you do,
First Vice Chair
Saginaw County Democratic Party