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Temporary Stay Issued in Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Case

Some 100 couples are questioning whether or not they really are married after paying a license fee and said “I do” in the state of Michigan. Late on Saturday, the U.S. 6th Court of Appeals ruled a temporary stay of a lower court that declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Michigan, according to USA Today.

Some 300 same-sex marriage licenses were handed out across the state hours before the ruling came from the court.

The state has yet to say if it recognizes the marriages or not. The stay was requested by Attorney General Bill Schuette. Governor Rick Snyder also did not discuss the marriages. Both Schuette and Snyder are going to wait until a decision is made by the 6th Circuit, which could come on Wednesday. This is when the temporary stay expires. The court could then decide whether or not it will grant a permanent stay pending the appeal process.

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Jennifer Chapin-Smith married Alexi Chapin-Smith married this past weekend in Ann Arbor. The couple filed state and federal income taxes on Saturday, just one hour prior to the stay being issued. The couple was previously married in January of 2013 in Maryland during a Quaker ceremony. They married in Michigan for legal recognition in the state.

“This is our fourth wedding actually,” Chapin-Smith said. “We’re already married in the eyes of God and our religious community, our family, friends and our neighbors. It’s just the state of Michigan that wouldn’t recognize reality. It’s frustrating. Why can’t the state recognize what is real and truthful?”

Beth Bashert and Lisa Bashert, partners for 25 years, also married on Saturday in Michigan. The couple did not turn in their form at the clerk’s office though.

“We’re going to submit it on Monday. But I just don’t know what our status is. Literally, I don’t know,” said Beth Bashert. “It was so powerful and so amazing to be married. I’m trying not to worry about it. I can’t control it. I just want to continue to feel good. Whether it happens right now or whether it happens in awhile we’re going to have a legal marriage. We’ve been in a legal limbo for 25 years. … I’d rather be in this limbo than one without being married.”

Dan Ray is a professor of constitutional law at Thomas Cooley Law School. Ray believes that any marriages performed before the stay are valid.

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“The state will undoubtedly say we will not recognize these marriages until the judgment becomes final,” Ray said. “But I think that they are going to continue to remain valid marriages.”

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