Republican Michigan Governor Rick
Snyder announced Wednesday that he would not appeal a federal judge's
ruling ordering officials to recognize the marriages of 300 gay and
The weddings took place in four
counties the day after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck
down Michigan's restrictive marriage ban on March 21, a Friday. The
Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on
Friedman's ruling after the couples had exchanged vows.
While the federal government said that
it will honor the marriages, Snyder refused to do so, prompting eight
of the couples to file a federal lawsuit to have their marriages
recognized by the state.
“The judge has determined that
same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow
the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples,”
Snyder said in a statement.
Without an appeal, the ruling will take
effect on Thursday.
However, Snyder continues to defend
Michigan's ban in the original case. After the Sixth Circuit upheld
Michigan's ban and those in three other states, plaintiffs appealed
to the Supreme Court, which combined the cases and is expected to
render a ruling by June.
“I appreciate that the larger
question will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year,”
Snyder said. “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 on the other challenges we face.”
Frank Colasonti Jr., who married his
husband, James B. Ryder, at the Oakland County clerk's office, told
AP that the decision “takes a great weight off our shoulders.”
“It's been anxiety-producing,” he
said. “Emotional for us to not feel completely married. We've
been in limbo.”