Unconstitutional marriage ban shows marker of progress, more steps to take


Friday, a federal judge ruled Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The next morning several counties opened for business and more than 300 same-sex couples joined hands in matrimony.

This placed Michigan as the 18th state to allow same-sex marriage, putting us on the right side of history.

Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency request for a stay, which would halt all the marriages, for now. Saturday evening, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a temporary stay through at least Wednesday on the judge’s decision.

Unfortunately, Michigan law holds that you may only be issued a marriage license through a county where one of the members of the union is a resident, and some counties never opened up. So, many area same-sex couples have not quite yet been able to rejoice.

Schuette’s rationalized his halt of legal love by citing a decade-old vote Michiganders took place where nearly 60 percent of voters wanted to define marriage and similar unions to being between one man and one woman.

But times are a-changing.

In 2010, there were nearly 15,000 same-sex couples in Michigan. A 2014 Michigan State University study suggests only 36 percent of Michiganders oppose same-sex marriage.

The reasons against same-sex marriage are irrational. The Vanguard has had its fair share of opinions published which tackle this issue, but I feel it’s important to reiterate.

Marriage cannot be defined by God, at least when it is intertwined with governmental benefits.

The marriages granted this Saturday did not invalidate the meaning of anyone’s personal marriages, which may or may not include a religious contexts. No one is any less married than they were a week ago. How a person defines marriage is not up to the dictionaries or government, just as your religion is something personally defined, too.

Besides, Christianity has supported many other forms of sexual morality, in which we look down upon today. By no means do I mean to attack religion through advocating for same-sex marriage. It’s mainly that religion is used as the the tool to prohibit these unions.

With same-sex marriage legalized, churches still have every right not to hold a same-sex marriage ceremony. As for  wedding photographers, florists, and all others that are contracted to celebrate these unions, they can also still refuse service, so long as Michigan leaves out sexual orientation in its discrimination policies.

These couples who were married this weekend could return to work Monday with a photo of their union to place on their desk, and get fired for it in Michigan.

Same-sex couples can, in fact, be Christians. For those in doubt, just refer to Matthew Vines’ hour-long argument that dismantles every Bible-based argument against homosexuality.

There are many unknowns about how this case will pan out, and the battle is not over. Marriage is but a small step towards Michiganders being able to say, “Pure Equality. Pure Michigan.”