Michigan same-sex couples fight to get marriages recognized

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - James Ryder and Frank Colasonti Jr. married on March 22.

Their wedding day was the day after Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Michigan could not ban same-sex marriage.

"We felt this was a window of opportunity and we want to take advantage of it," said Colasonti.

About 300 other same-sex couples did the same. The window slammed shut within a few hour when a federal appeals court stayed Friedman's ruling. The ACLU says those marriages should stand.

"There's a constitutional right to remain in a marriage that was issued by the state of Michigan for people living in the state of Michigan at a time when doing that was legal," said ACLU attorney Julian Mortensen.

Lawyers for Attorney General Bill Schuette argued in court Thursday that forcing Michigan to recognize the marriages would create "mass confusion." They believe it's better to let the higher courts resolve the issue. But the couples say they're being harmed as long as their rights are denied.

"I cannot currently be on Marsha's health insurance. I'm self-employed, so I have to purchase my own," said Glenna DeJong, who married her same-sex partner.

Several of the couples being represented by the ACLU were in court hearing the state argue that their marriages are not valid.

"It was very upsetting. We want dignity and respect," said Marsha Caspar, of Lansing.

The ACLU argues those 300 marriages would still be valid even if the higher courts eventually were to rule in favor of Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Mark Goldsmith, who presided at Thursday's hearing, said he will issue a ruling soon.

View: Special Section on Michigan same-sex marriage fight

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