In response to the Michigan marriage equality news, Scott Shackford quips that “it’s getting harder to write these kinds of posts without just taking an old one and replacing the state.” Mark Joseph Stern puts the ruling in context:
As Windsor continues to trample anti-gay animus in state after state, it’s worth remembering how far we’ve come in so little time. Had Justice Kennedy voted the wrong way last year, gay plaintiffs would have essentially no legal ground upon which to assert their marriage rights. Instead, his words have thundered through federal courthouses across the country. When Windsor came out last June, constitutional protections for gay marriage were thrilling and novel. Today, just nine months later, they’re practically old news.
“The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” he wrote in what must be one of the most stinging and decisive repudiations of an expert witness in memory. He cited evidence that the conservative research was “hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder” which clearly expressed its wish for skewed results. Dismissing the defense’s other witnesses just as strongly, the judge wrote that “The Court was unable to accord the testimony of Marks, Price, and Allen any significant weight.” He concluded that “The most that can be said of these witnesses’ testimony is that the ‘no differences’ consensus has not been proven with scientific certainty, not that there is any credible evidence showing that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples.”
Nora Caplan-Bricker focuses on the judge:
The most surprising thing about a Michigan district court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage may be the judge who wrote it. Bernard Friedman, a 70-year-old Ronald Reagan nominee who ruled against the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy in 2001, said Friday that the state’s arguments did not amount to a “rational basis” for the law—echoing four Democratic appointees who have also declared prohibitions on gay marriage unconstitutional in the past year.
“Friedman’s opinion suggests that even a Reagan appointee—albeit in a northern state where opinion is probably already in favor of gay marriage by a majority—can no longer comprehend such laws as anything but bigotry,” said Michael Klarman, a constitutional law scholar at Harvard Law School, in an email.
Joe Jervis notes that the Michigan governor might not recognize the marriages that made it through before the stay:
We should coin a gay term to describe the status of same-sex marriages in places like Utah and Michigan. In both states gay couples stampeded to county clerks’ offices within hours of court rulings. And in both states all those marriages currently have a giant blinking asterisk next to them.
Yesterday a reader provided a view from a Michigan marriage.