A gay married couple has asked a
federal judge to lift a stay in their case challenging Michigan's ban
on gay marriage as one of the men fights a diagnosis of terminal
Bruce Morgan and Brian Merucci, who
have been together seven years, married in New York in 2013.
After Kent County Clerk and Register of
Deeds Mary Hollinrake refused to recognize their out-of-state
marriage license, the couple sued Governor Rick Snyder and
Hollinrake, who was later dropped from the suit following an
agreement to be bound by the court's decision.
U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist set
the case aside pending a Supreme Court decision in a similar case
challenging the ban, according to alternative weekly MLive.com.
On Thursday, the couple asked Quist to
lift the stay and immediately recognize their marriage.
“The impact of Bruce's cancer on his
life and marriage to Brian appears to be lost on the State; the
reality is the cancer is incurable and that Bruce will die,” the
couple's attorney, Stephanie Myott, wrote
in the brief. “There is no time to wait to recognize their
marriage, nor is time needed; the time is now.”
Myott argues that the stay is no longer
relevant since Snyder has decided against fighting a federal
injunction ordering the state to recognize the marriages of 300 gay
couples who tied the knot last year. The couples exchanged vows
during the 1 day it was legal following a federal judge's ruling
striking down the ban and an appeals court's decision to stay the
ruling. The appeals court eventually overturned the ruling and
plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, which is expected to hand
down a ruling in June.
“Brian and Bruce's rights to have
Michigan recognize their marriage sprung to life upon the overturning
of the Marriage Ban,” Myott argued. “Bruce and Brian's marriage
cannot now be unrecognized.”
“Even if the Supreme Court ultimately
allows the State of Michigan to deny marriage to same-sex couple,
such a ruling would have no impact on the recognition of Bruce and
Brian's 2013 New York marriage by the State.”
(Brief provided by Equality