Republican Michigan Governor Rick
Snyder opposes lifting a stay in the case of a terminally ill gay man
who wants his out-of-state marriage recognized.
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 Snyder and Hollinrake, who was
later dropped from the suit following an agreement to be bound by the
court's decision, MLive
Morgan, who is fighting a diagnosis of
terminal brain cancer, and Merucci earlier this month asked U.S.
District Judge Gordon Quist to lift the stay in their case and
immediately recognize their marriage. Quist had earlier set the case
aside pending a Supreme Court decision in a similar case challenging
The couple's attorney, Stephanie 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 in Michigan
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 will hear arguments in the case next Tuesday,
with a ruling expected in June.
In a brief filed Monday, Snyder's
lawyers called on Quist to deny the couple's request, saying that the
ruling ordering the state to recognize the marriages of those 300
couples did not apply to couples who married outside of Michigan.
“That the couples in Caspar
were married in Michigan was a significant part of the court's
rationale in finding a violation of due-process; in fact, the court
identified the fundamental right at issue as, 'the right to maintain
the marital status granted by the state seeking to defeat it,'”
wrote. “Since Plaintiffs were married in New York, the
rationale in Caspar is inapplicable. … Plaintiffs' motion
should be denied.”
(Brief provided by Equality