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January 15, 2015

Licenses were issues to same-sex couples during brief legal window in March

A federal judge ruled on Thursday (15 January) that Michigan must recognize the same-sex marriages of more than 300 couples who got married in the state last March.

US District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith (pictured) wrote in his opinion: 'Delaying judicial resolution of these issues would serve no useful purpose. To the contrary, such delay would compound the harms these Plaintiffs suffer each day that their marital status remains unrecognized.'

January 13, 2015

'Shirvell's conduct reasonably could have created the impression that neither he nor the department enforced the law in a fair, even-handed manner without bias'

A court has found a former Michigan state's lawyer one-man campaign against an out college student does not fall under First Amendment protection.

Last week the Michigan appeals court ruled against Andrew Shirvell. The former state assistant attorney general was fired in 2010 for harassing the student body president of the University of Michigan, who happened to be gay.

January 13, 2015

'Shirvell's conduct reasonably could have created the impression that neither he nor the department enforced the law in a fair, even-handed manner without bias'

A court has found a former Michigan state's lawyer one-man campaign against an out college student does not fall under First Amendment protection.

Last week the Michigan appeals court ruled against Andrew Shirvell. The former state assistant attorney general was fired in 2010 for harassing the student body president of the University of Michigan, who happened to be gay.

January 10, 2015

Justices met privately Friday to discuss cases including marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

The US Supreme Court met in conference on Friday (9 January) to discuss upcoming cases but made no announcement about whether or not it will hear any challenges to gay marriage cases in five states.

The high court is considering hearing cases filed in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana.

The justices declined to take on any same-sex marriage cases last year in which defendants appealed circuit court of appeals rulings upholding the striking down of marriage bans.

December 25, 2014

Police suspect suicide

A transgender man was discovered dead in his vehicle in Warren, Michigan on Tuesday, according to police.

Jay Ralko, 22, was found in the parking lot of a Meijer supermarket in Warren. Police suspect he took his own life.

Ralko had a long history of battling bipolar disorder and depression. He went missing for nearly two weeks after leaving a cryptic note for his roommate to take care of his dog, Xena.

Ralko’s sister Molly posted on Facebook that she was proud to be his sister and that he had been tough.

December 24, 2014

Justices have cases out of five states to choose from

The US Supreme Court could decide as early as 9 January whether or not it will hear any challenges to gay marriage cases in five states.

The high court will be in conference on that day and will consider hearing cases filed in Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Louisiana, according to BuzzFeed News.

November 6, 2014

Decision 6th Circuit Court of Appeals opens the doors for US Supreme Court to review cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee

Momentum for marriage equality in the US hit a major roadblock on Thursday (6 November) when a federal appeals court upheld gay marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals applies to six cases in the four states where federal judges had struck down same-sex marriage bans.

It comes after more than 30 federal rulings since June 2013 declaring bans on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. The previous legal victories have led to same-sex marriage now being legal in 32 states.

October 25, 2014

The women's magazine received backlash from hateful readers after featuring a gay male couple alongside their two daughters, for the first time

Readers of Family Circle, an 82-year-old American women's magazine, were introduced to Chris Osner-Hackett and Bob Osner-Hackett of Michigan, alongside their daughters Cai and Ava. It's the first time the magazine has featured a gay couple talking about their family life, parenting styles, and chaotic dinnertimes in the magazine's new column, 'Modern Life.'

September 25, 2014

'The sexual orientation of a person is just like the color of their skin'

Former US President Jimmy Carter had a lot to say this week about Christianity and discrimination against gay people.

Carter, now 89, was asked about gay rights during an appearance at the 100th anniversary celebration of Michigan's Grand Rapids Community College.

'I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anybody because of who they were,' said Carter, a Democrat who served as president from 1977-81.

September 17, 2014

Associate justice says there will only be urgency for high court if a state ban is upheld

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the US Supreme Court won't be in a big rush to hear a gay marriage case unless the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds state marriage bans.

If that were to happen, 'there will be some urgency,' Ginsberg said during a talk at the University of Minnesota Law School on Tuesday (16 September).

The Sixth Circuit covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee and has marriage equality cases pending.

August 14, 2014

The Williams Institute has crunched the numbers and is suggesting that legalizing same-sex marriage in the state would result in an additional $53.2 million in spending in the state – generating jobs and tax revenue

The University of Southern California Los Angeles’ Williams Institute has conducted a study on the economic benefits that legalizing same-sex marriage would have for the US state of Michigan, and has calculated there would be extra spending in the state to the tune of $53.2 million if it were to do so.

Researchers used census data and figures on post legalizing same-sex marriage spending booms in other states to arrive at that figure.

August 6, 2014

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio will rule on cases in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee

A three-judge panel of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard oral arguments Wednesday (6 August) in six cases challenges gay marriage bans in four different states.

The judges will be deciding whether to uphold rulings by various federal judges in lower courts who ruled that the marriage bans in Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio are unconstitutional.

The Court heard the Michigan case first, followed by two Ohio cases, then two Kentucky cases, and finally the Tennessee case.

Rulings are not expected for a few more weeks.

July 30, 2014

Court to hear six challenges to laws banning marriage equality in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee next week

The fight for marriage equality in the US will have a historic day next week (6 August) when a federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in six different cases from four states.

Judges for the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, located in Ohio, is considering challenges to gay marriage bans in Kentucky (two cases), Michigan, Ohio (two cases), and Tennessee.

It will mark the fourth argument heard by a federal circuit court since the US Supreme Court’s decision last summer which struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

July 29, 2014

Michigan state Representative Adam Zemke has introduced a bill that would protect under-18’s from being subjected to attempts to ‘cure’ their same-sex attractions and is hopeful that some Republicans will vote for it as well

Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke has put a bill before his state’s House of Representative that seeks to ban so-called ‘ex-gay’ or ‘reparative’ therapies on minors that seek to alter a person’s sexuality.

Representative Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning attempts to ‘cure’ under-18’s of their sexuality while efforts to do the same in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

July 22, 2014

23-year-old Donovan Haynes, who told police he beat his daughter so that she would become a lesbian and avoid bad men like her, will spend at least 18 years and 9 months in prison over her death before being released

A Michigan man who told police he beat his two-year-old daughter to death in an attempt to turn her off men has been sentenced to 40 years in prison with a non-parole period of 18 years and 9 months.

23-year-old Donovan Haynes pleaded no contest to a charge of second degree murder in what Genesee Circuit Judge Joseph J Farah told the court was one of the worst things he had ever had to hear about in his time on the bench.

July 18, 2014

Couples required to show in-state marriage license to rent atrium, rotunda, porches or plaza

It was in 2007 that Ohio opened up its Statehouse to wedding ceremonies and receptions allowing couples to rent the atrium, rotunda, porches or plaza.

This week, a 12-member panel voted to retain a policy which bans same-sex couples from taking advantage of this opportunity.

The gay couples are excluded because of a requirement that they have in-state marriage license. That is currently impossible to provide since a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was passed in 2004.

June 24, 2014

The Moravian Church in North America’s Northern Province voted Sunday to allow gays and lesbians to become clergy and also to create a religious ceremony by which to bless same-sex unions

The 2014 Synod of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in North America has approved same-sex clergy and a new religious rite to bless same-sex unions in a vote of 181-62.

The province’s Book of Order will also be revised to reflect the new policy.

The Northern Province is the Moravian Church’s largest province in North America and covers churches in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, California, Ontario and Alberta.

June 20, 2014

A group of 25 retired Michigan Republicans has joined the challenge to that state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying, arguing that allowing same-sex couples to marry is consistent with Republican values and the spirit of the US Constitution

Michigan’s Republican Attorney General may have a harder time appealing a court decision to strike down his state’s ban on same-sex marriage after 25 retired lawmakers and leading figures from his own party joined the case in support of marriage equality.

June 18, 2014

A federal appeals court will rule on the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage in all four states covered by the US judicial Sixth Circuit in the last step for opponents short of taking the issue to the Supreme Court

A federal appeals court is set to rule on the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage across Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee – deciding to hear all of the cases together.

Those four states make up the judicial Sixth Circuit – one of 13 such legal circuits across the United States.

A three judge panel will hear arguments in five cases from the four states from 6 August and is likely to rule on the issue before year’s end.

June 5, 2014

EJ Johnson: 'I don't know what it will take for parents to finally stop abandoning their kids just for being themselves'

The openly gay son of NBA legend Magic Johnson says he is able to be a confident man today because he had parents who stood by him when he came out as a teenager.

'I had no idea what a rare gift that was,' EJ Johnson writes in a Huffington Post column published this week.

May 5, 2014

Contemporary sculpture in Michigan condemned by local pastor as an abomination, despite the figures being sexless

A US pastor has slammed a contemporary sculpture unveiled last month, claiming it depicts a gay sex orgy even though the figures are sexless.

Local pastor Rick Strawcutter in particular was outraged at the new sculpture erected in Michigan, called Human Blue Condition by artist Mark Chatterley.

It was unveiled on 21 April and placed next to the city commission chambers in the town of Adrian, Michigan.

The sculpture was removed shortly after, after several residents complained about what they perceived to be a sexual nature of the figures.

April 30, 2014

Former Michigan state Representative Lorence Wenke has announced he will run as a Libertarian Party candidate for the Michigan state Senate because he can no longer stand his party’s treatment of gay people

Lorence Wenke, who spent six years in the Michigan state House of Representatives as a Republican, has announced that he has switched political affiliations to the Libertarian Party and that he intends to run against his former party to try to win a state senate seat.

Wenke cited two reasons for leaving the party – the first being its treatment of gays and lesbians.

April 21, 2014

'It was as if there'd just been a referendum on me in network television, and the vote was a resounding no'

Kenneth M. Walsh's memoir Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? begins and ends with New York City dreaming.

April 14, 2014

American Civil Liberties Union wants state to recognize the 300-plus same-sex marriages that took place last month

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit Monday (14 April) to guarantee that the marriages of 300 same-sex couples performed in Michigan last month are recognized by the state.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples who were married after a federal judge struck down the state's ban and before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put the decision on hold.