Decision looms in Michigan same-sex marriage trial

Judge could give ruling this week on couple's challenge to state's gay marriage ban


DETROIT – April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse plan to marry if the ruling goes their way.

That's also true for hundreds of other same-sex couples in Michigan. But Larry Dubin, who is a law professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School, believes Judge Bernard Friedman will immediately stay his ruling, preserving the status quo until a higher court rules.

More: Judge: Gay marriage trial ruling within 2 weeks

"If there was no stay then people, if he rules gay people can be married, they'll rush and married only maybe to find out that an appellate court disagrees with his ruling, and then there is some legal chaos," said Dubin.

Same-sex couples who married in Utah after a recent ruling in their favor were left in limbo when the ruling was stayed two weeks later.

The Michigan Attorney General told county clerks last October that if there is a stay, "You are forbidden by Michigan law from issuing a marriage license to same-sex couples during the pendency of the appeal."

Dubin believes Judge Friedman's ruling could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

"I think what makes this case interesting is that there is a factual record. Some of these cases were decided merely on the law," said Dubin.

In 2004, Michigan voters banned same-sex marriage.

"If it is a law that irrationally discriminates against individuals and violates the constitution, then the constitution will trump whatever state law is passed," said Dubin.