Stay puts same-sex marriages in limbo

Scott Sullivan

Saugatuck residents Glenna DeJong and Marsha Caspar were the first gay couple to marry in Michigan Saturday morning after a federal judge ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Hours later a stay was put on that order, leaving them and other same-sex couples eager to formalize relationships in legal limbo.

“In my opinion, the weddings conducted before the stay should be legal,” said Dick Waskin, who last month told Allegan County Clerk Joyce Watts he planned to marry 27-year partner Larry Hanlin in her office as soon as possible. “But it seems more delays are coming.”

“My understanding is marriage licenses are only good for 33 days until made formal with a legal ceremony,” said Jon Helmrich. He and partner Stephen Mottram—Saugatuck Township residents like Waskin and Hanlin—hope to marry before their 35th anniversary Oct. 4, “but who knows how long this will go on in court,” Helmrich said.

On Friday, March 21, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the state’s gay marriage ban, approved by voters in 2004, was unconstitutional, stating “the ballot box is no defense to a law that tramples the rights of same-sex couples.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 27 issue of The Allegan County News/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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