Petition being delivered to Michigan AG's office urging him not to appeal gay marriage decision

(WXYZ) - Petitions signed online by 14,517 people are being delivered to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette urging him to not appeal the same sex marriage case. 

At the same time, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has set May and June as dates for briefs and response to be filed. No hearing has been set. 

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

Schuette is appealing. A group led by Equality Michigan including lawmakers and two county clerks who issued same sex marriage licenses held a news conference in Lansing. 

They believe the court dates mean the appeal is getting expedited treatment. 

They also expect the Court of Appeals to extend the stay on same sex marriage in Michigan during the appeal. 

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

The ACLU of Michigan was at the Lansing news conference 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. 

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeals will decide to extend the stay or allow it to expire.

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 stay runs until Wednesday.

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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