A federal judge on Wednesday denied a
terminally ill gay man's request to force Michigan officials to
recognize his out-of-state marriage.
Bruce Morgan, who is fighting a
diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, and Brian Merucci have been
together seven years and married in New York two years ago.
They sued Republican Michigan Governor
Rick Snyder after officials refused to recognize their marriage.
Lawyers representing the couple argued
that a stay in their case should be lifted since Snyder has decided
against fighting a federal injunction ordering the state to recognize
the marriages of 300 gay couples who exchanged vows last year during
the 1 day it was legal. The state's ban was struck down by a federal
judge, but the judge's order was stayed the following day by an
appeals court. The appeals court eventually overturned the ruling
and plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear
arguments in the case Tuesday, with a ruling expected in June.
U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist
disagreed with plaintiffs, saying that the case, Caspar v. Snyder,
“does not change the circumstance giving rise to the Court's
initial decision to stay the case.”
“Caspar did not involve
recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages,” Quist
wrote. “Rather, Caspar concerned whether the State of
Michigan could refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were
performed in Michigan and 'solemnized pursuant to Michigan marriage
licenses issued in accordance with Michigan law' during the brief
period of time between the district court's ruling in DeBoer
and the Sixth Circuit's issuance of a temporary stay.”
“While the Court is not unsympathetic
to Plaintiffs' circumstances in light of Plaintiff Morgan's health
status, the Court is nonetheless bound by the Sixth Circuit's
decision in DeBoer, which directly controls Plaintiffs' claims
and remains valid,” he added.
(Brief provided by Equality