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Gov. Snyder: Michigan to recognize 300+ same-sex marriages performed in March

Posted at 3:05 PM, Feb 04, 2015

LANSING, Mich. -- Gov. Rick Snyder announced Wednesday that he will not appeal a U.S. District Court judge's ruling recognizing approximately 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan last year.

The marriages were performed on March 22, 2014 following a judge's ruling that temporarily struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage.   Same-sex marriage was allowed in the state for about 24 hours before a stay was ordered and the ban was put back in place.

On Nov. 6, 2014, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

For Boyd and Mike Hintz of Wyoming, one of the more than 300 same-sex couples who wed last March, they said while there's still a ways to go they feel confident in the momentum of public opinion moving toward support of gay marriage.

“I really feel that the change is going to happen, there’s too many people who realize the injustice of it," said Boyd Hintz.

“Even being in limbo, it didn’t stop us. We are committed and since that day (in March) I’ve always felt I’m married to Mike.”

Snyder in a statement on Wednesday  said “the judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend the state marriage benefits to those couples.”

Curt Benson, a political law expert with Cooley Law School said the move would appear to be nothing more than a case of passing the buck on an issue the governor has never felt comfortable taking a strong stance on publicly.

“Don’t think for a second that state officials are not delighted that the Supreme Court is going to make a decision one way or another and they don’t have to go on record," Benson said.

“From a political point of view, this will not be the first time an elected official will basically say, 'you know what  this is a tough issue, a controversial issue, let’s let the courts take this problem away from us.'”

Mike Hintz called Snyder's comments on Wednesday 'measured,' adding he'd wish the governor would do more to support marriage equality in the state.

"There are parts of me that have been very concerned about my state which generally is very involved in social issues… and yet Florida has marriage equality, some of the more southern states have marriage equality, so it’s about time Michigan jump on the bandwagon," he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced in January that it will rule on same-sex marriage.   The nine justices are expected to hear oral arguments in April and deliver a ruling by June.

“I appreciate that the larger question will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year. This is an issue that has been divisive across our country. Our nation’s highest court will decide this issue. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and it’s vitally important for an expedient resolution that will allow people in Michigan, as well as other states, to move forward together on the other challenges we face,” Snyder said in a release.