Lengel: Bill Schuette's Ongoing Smokescreen About Same-Sex Marriage

January 26, 2015, 11:50 AM by  Allan Lengel

Attorney General Bill Schuette/file photo from Deadline Detroit

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette continues to make a disingenuous argument for opposing same-sex marriage.

By gosh, he says, he's only upholding the law. Give him a break, he says. I say, give us a break.

His latest argument came on Sunday in a guest column in the Detroit Free Press:

Imagine what would happen if the attorney general of a state ignored a federal court ruling, failed to uphold the state constitution and paid no attention to the results of an election supported by 59% of the people statewide.

It sounds shocking. Yet amazingly, that is exactly what some voices are advocating in the debate over the definition of marriage.

Here's the back story: A decade ago, roughly 2.7 million voters in Michigan voted to amend the state's constitution to define marriage. Specifically, the voters, by a 59% margin, approved an amendment stating that "the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose." That is now Article I, section 25 of the Michigan Constitution.

When that section of Michigan's constitution was challenged, a federal district court struck down the amendment. Then the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed that decision and upheld Michigan's marriage amendment.

Schuette says he’s just upholding the law, and that the gay marriage issue will be settled by the Supreme Court.

But when U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in Detroit ruled last March that Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional,  that was the law, at least for the moment.

But Schuette didn’t waste any time challenging the law he's tasked with upholding. He requested a stay to prevent county clerks from marrying folks, and he filed it with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati just minutes after Friedman's ruling was made public. The Court of Appeals granted that stay, and now the Supreme Court will address the issue.

Sorry. Schuette doesn't sound like a man who simply defers to the will of the court.

He sounds more like a politician with an agenda, who seems anxious to please the religious right, the folks who sometimes have a difficult time accepting that little passage in the First Amendment of the  Constitution that talks about separation of church and state. 

A recent Free Press editorial put it best:

Sometime this spring, Michiganders will see what we hope will be state Attorney General Bill Schuette's last stand against gay marriage in Michigan.

Schuette's decision to put Michigan on the wrong side of history has been an embarrassment to the state. Now, at last, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to drag our attorney general into the 21st Century

Read more:  Dealdine Detroit

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