March 7, 2013
By Scottie Thomaston
The federal judge who heard arguments today in DeBoer v. Snyder, the challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, has decided to put the case on hold until the Supreme Court issues its rulings in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor in late June. Since the Court will deal with the issue of same-sex marriage itself in those cases, the judge suggested it’s a good idea to wait:
“I think its worth the wait,” U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said in a hearing brought by two women who want joint custody of their three children. “I don’t know what the Supreme Court is going to do.”
The decision disappointed proponents of gay marriage who were hoping that Friedman would strike down the state’s ban, which Michigan voters approved as a constitutional amendment in 2004.
The judge suggested that it wouldn’t be fair to rule now with these issues pending before the Supreme Court. Any guidance from that Court would be binding on the case:
But Friedman said he would benefit from seeing how the U.S. Supreme Court handles cases involving a gay marriage ban in California as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Arguments are scheduled later this month in Washington.
An immediate ruling in Michigan “would not be fair to either side,” Friedman said while holding court in front of students at Wayne State University law school.
“They’re going to give us something to hang our hat on,” he said of the Supreme Court.
Arguments in the two pending Supreme Court cases (which are challenges to California’s Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act) will take place on March 26-27. Argument in the Prop 8 case will be one hour long and argument in the challenge to Section 3 of DOMA will be an hour and fifty minutes.