A gay couple on Wednesday filed a
federal lawsuit challenging Michigan's refusal to recognize their
Bruce T. Morgan and Brian P. Merucci,
who married in New York last year, argue that a separate ruling
currently on hold striking down Michigan's ban on gay marriage means
the state must recognize their nuptials.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Cincinnati stayed the lower court's order in March after roughly 300
gay and lesbian couples exchanged vows in Michigan.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder
declared the marriages valid but refused to recognize them pending an
Morgan and Merucci say Snyder failed to
address the marriages of gay couples performed elsewhere.
Stephanie D. Myott, the couple's
attorney, told MLive.com
that “Snyder only addressed the couples who married in Michigan
after the DeBoer ruling.”
“No one is talking about the
thousands of couples in Michigan who were married in another state,
like Bruce and Brian. The Constitution protects their fundamental
rights as well,” she said.
“Unlike the same-sex marriages
performed in Michigan on Mach 22, 2014, the legality of Bruce and
Brian's marriage is in no way dependent upon the decision in the
Sixth Circuit appeal,” the
couple's complaint states. “Bruce and Brian's marriage was
legal when performed in New York. When judge Friedman found the
Marriage Amendment and its implementing statutes unconstitutional,
Section 2 of DOMA no longer allowed Michigan to deny Bruce and Brian
their state marital rights and benefits, which were vested in them
pursuant to the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Even if the Sixth
Circuit overturns Judge Friedman's decision, Bruce and Brian's state
marital rights and benefits are vested in them and cannot be taken
Morgan, who is battling a 2011
diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer, said he wanted the marriage
recognized so that hospital staff will recognize “the decisions
[Merucci] makes regarding my care.”
“I know that Brian will be by my side
during this difficult time, and I want him to be recognized as my
spouse when he does because that is who is he is,” Morgan said.