Court of Appeals extends stay on gay marriage until ruling on appeal

(WXYZ) - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled to extend the stay, preventing same sex marriages in Michigan during the appeals process.

On Friday, Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Michigan's ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. 

Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an appeal.

Schuettte says he's upholding the Michigan Constitutional ban on same sex marriage passed by 2.7 million Michigan voters in 2004. 

Tuesday, a petition was delivered to Schuette's office urging him not to appeal.

A group led by Equality Michigan, including lawmakers and two county clerks who issued same sex marriage licenses, held a news conference earlier Tuesday afternoon.

The ACLU of Michigan was also at the news conference in Lansing and says more litigation may be filed to make sure that 300 same sex couples who got married over the weekend are recognized as legal by state and federal officials. 

Marsha Caspar and Glenna DeJong are the first same sex couple to be married early Saturday morning after the court ruling but before a stay. 

They say the petitions should send a message to the Attorney General that he's on the wrong side of the issue in a changing society. 

In a court filing, lawyers for two Detroit-area nurses who challenged the state's gay marriage ban said a stay is inappropriate because the Michigan attorney general's office is unlikely to win an appeal in the long run.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman last Friday struck down a 2004 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman. He said it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"There are times when maintaining the status quo makes sense," attorneys for Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer wrote. "There are also times when maintaining the status quo is merely a kinder label for perpetuating discrimination that should no longer be tolerated. The public interest in this case lies on the side of ending discrimination, promoting equality and human dignity and providing security for children."

Hundreds of couples were married before the appeals court temporarily froze Friedman's decision Saturday.

The nurses' attorneys also claim that state lawyers flunked court procedure by failing last week to first ask the judge to suspend his decision.

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