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ACLU files lawsuit against state of Michigan for same-sex marriage benefits


A lawsuit was filed by The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan against the state of Michigan on Monday to legally recognize the 300 same-sex marriages performed last month.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight of these couples. They were legally married after a federal judge ended Michigan’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.

On March 21, Judge Bernard Friedman, the senior judge of the United States District Court for the eastern district of Michigan, ruled to effectively end the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

However, a few days later, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the state would not recognize the marriages even though there were legal at the time they occurred because the case was appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This makes the couples ineligible for state benefits, although the federal government confirmed it would recognize the marriages.

In its most recent lawsuit, the ACLU said once couples are legally married in Michigan, regardless of whether they are same-sex or not, they gain privileges and protections that cannot be retroactively stripped away.

Additionally, the ACLU argues the U.S. Constitution forces state officials to recognize these protections regardless of the outcome of the appeal of Friedman’s ruling.

Another federal case challenging Michigan’s marriage ban is on appeal before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In that case, the ACLU of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of private attorneys purchased by an Oakland County lesbian couple.