Snyder tells Michigan’s 300+ married gay couples, I know you’re legally married, but it doesn’t change a god damn thing

While conceding that more than 300 same-sex couples were legally married this past weekend, in the wake of a federal judge’s finding last Friday that the Michigan gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, Governor Rick Snyder told reporters in Lansing earlier today that, pending an appeal filed by Attorney General Bill Schuette, the State would not recognize these marriages, and, as such, these 600+ married individuals would remain ineligible for State benefits associated with marriage.

After saying, “We believe those are legal marriages, and valid marriages,” Snyder added, “The stay being issued the next night made it more complicated.”

I can understand, given that he’s in a tight race for reelection, that he’d want to straddle both sides of the issue, deflecting a majority of the criticism at his Attorney General, who called for the aforementioned stay, but it seems like an untenable position, given that, no matter what side of the issue you stand on, he looks both weak and ineffective. Either he’s the hapless Governor who lacks the strength to stand up to an Attorney General who took it upon himself to fight against the inevitable, or he’s the Governor who doesn’t have the courage to stand up and say what others in his party believe to be true, which is that these “marriages” were the work of activist clerks in a few isolated counties who took the opportunity to open their offices on a weekend in order to sneak in weddings before the stay went into effect, thus creating cases which could, if need be, make it to the Supreme Court.

Instead, though, Snyder is trying to maintain his tenuous position between the two sides, saying that, while these people are legally married, his hands are tied, and leaving us to draw our own conclusions about his true feelings from the little, offhand comments he’s made in the press, like the one at the bottom of this clip from Crain’s, in which Snyder says that Schuette isn’t answering his calls.


And then there’s this sentence in today’s MLive coverage: “Snyder said he did not advise Schuette to file the appeal and has not been personally involved in the legal battle.”

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know the truth… whether Snyder acquiesced when told by the hardliners bankrolling the Michigan Republican Party that they wanted the emergency appeal to be filed, or whether Schuette just ran off and did it on his own, without consulting the administration. And, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. This whole thing is a fucking mess, and both Schuette and Snyder need to go. Gay marriage, like it or not, is here to stay, and they should have known better than to let things get to this point. When the history books are written, they’ll look as preposterous as George “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” Wallace, standing there in the the University of Alabama doorway, blocking black students from entering.

Here, to give you an idea of the shit-storm brewing, are two responses to Snyder’s statement. The first is from the ACLU of Michigan. And the second is from Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer.


We’re pleased that the state has conceded that more than 300 couples were legally married on Saturday after Judge Friedman’s historic ruling. This acknowledgment opens the door for federal recognition of these marriages.

However, it’s simply astonishing that the governor now plans to deny these legally married couples the benefits of marriage that all other legally married couples are entitled to under state law.

As a matter of law and fundamental fairness, the state is obligated to extend all the rights and responsibilities that flow from marriage to the more than 300 couples married this weekend. Doing anything less violates our laws, shamefully treats legally married gay and lesbian couples like second-class citizens, and adds to the confusion and instability these loving families have had to endure.

We will continue to explore legal options on behalf of these couples and encourage those who have been denied the benefits of marriage to contact us.


I’m absolutely offended that Governor Snyder would continue to deny these couples the same rights, opportunities and benefits that every other legally married couple is entitled to in our state… His actions are laughable. His excuses are simply disgraceful.

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  1. Bob
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Many of us have started to work to help elect Mark Schauer. Have your friends Matt and Rene done anything similar?

  2. Brainless
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Lighten up, Bob. They already held a kickoff fundraiser for him last year. Where were you?

  3. site admin
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink


    Read this article.

    “Matt and Rene Greff, after supporting Snyder for Governor, now work to unseat him”

  4. Bob
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Yeah, we’ll see right. Unseating him and his Koch Bros. checkbook should be a snap. Ooh! We got a site administrator now!

  5. Meta
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Jack Lessenberry on Bill Schuette and his Democratic rival for AG Mark Totten.

    Regardless of what you think of the same-sex marriage issue, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette made a horse’s ass of himself in federal court this month.

    Don’t just take my word for it; look at what the officially independent and moderate Detroit Free Press said after the historic ruling striking down Michigan’s gay marriage ban.

    They called it “a humiliating defeat for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who squandered hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to mount a pathetic legal defense that demeaned his office and disserved his constituents.”

    That was echoed in the ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who wrote that the “expert witnesses” offered by the state “represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields.” That was actually being kind to those bozos, and presumably doesn’t include the one state witness the judge dismissed from the witness stand after finding that he had no qualifications whatsoever as an expert in the case.

    Now, there indeed was a reasonable and intellectually sound argument that could be made against legalizing same-sex marriage. And that is the fact that in 2004, Michigan voters overwhelmingly amended the state constitution to forbid any marriage that wasn’t between a man and a woman.

    Schuette, a 60-year-old former congressman from Midland, could indeed have found respectable constitutional scholars to argue that case, and could have done so with dignity, not to mention less expensively for the taxpayers.

    But he seemed so hell-bent on pandering to the far right that the public interest was anything but first on his agenda.

    This shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone; this is the guy who, when he was in the state senate in 1995, successfully sponsored a law making big pharmaceutical companies immune from lawsuits if one of their products kills someone.

    Our attorney general has fought against giving poor Michigan families tax credits to pay for their health insurance.

    Not only did he fight the Affordable Care Act, he supported the successful efforts of the yahoos in the legislature to refuse to create a state registry to help people find health care, even though that cost us millions, and it meant the federal government would do it anyway, and send us the bill.

    This year, Schuette is running for a second four-year term as Michigan’s top attorney. If he wins, you can expect him to devote his second term mainly to running for governor four years from now. Does he deserve re-election?

    My guess is that you know the answer.

    Yet the conventional wisdom is that he will win easily. It has been well over half a century since any Michigan attorney general was defeated for re-election.

    Schuette will have all the special interest money he can spend. But he’s going to face an interesting challenger who has a sterling background, education, and a novel idea:

    Michigan’s attorney general should be primarily concerned with protecting all the people from crime.

    “Being attorney general is my dream job,” Mark Totten told me over lunch last week. Over the years, he has seen Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act gutted by the courts; seen families devastated by violent crime and white-collar crime.

    And what he wants most of all, practically, intellectually and philosophically, is to do something about it. You might never find another candidate with his credentials.

    His big dilemma after college was whether to get a Ph.D. in ethics or a law degree. So he got both — at the same time — from Yale, one of the most exclusive universities in the world. Obviously, he doesn’t have an average mind.

    Read more:

  6. Elf
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I could understand it if Snyder was a homophobe. I don’t think that’s the case though. He’s just incredibly weak. He’s spineless and can’t stand up to the far right.

  7. Mrs. Snyder
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Let them eat (wedding) cake.

  8. Posted March 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Just wondering…when is the expiration date for bringing up the Greffs and Snyder thing (that wasn’t even really a thing)? Or can we just call MAYNARD’S LAW and then all discussion ceases on that thread.

  9. Dan Izzo
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I too voted for Snyder on the premise that he was a moderate technocrat in republican clothing. Turns out Mark’s premise is 100% correct – he’s weak willed and lacks the strength to hold back the loud and ineffective wing of his party. Unless the democrats nominate a Larouchie by accident I’m voting for whoever they put up.

  10. Posted March 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I did not vote for Snyder.

  11. Bob
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    I like how there seems to be an expiration date on topics when it involves people we like and places that are cozy for enjoying a shitty beer. The damage Snyder has done is definitely “a thing.” Sorry.

  12. Meta
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Michigan may not recognize the marriages, but the feds will.

    The marriages of same-sex couples who wed in Michigan when marriage equality was briefly allowed in the state will be recognized for federal purposes, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Friday.

    “I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government,” Holder said. “These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.”

    More than 300 same-sex couples wed in Michigan on Saturday after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the state’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriages. But after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette appealed the decision and requested a stay, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals indefinitely halted the weddings pending appeal of the lawsuit.

    Snyder announced the marriages were legal under state law, but couples will receive no state benefits until the stay is lifted. As they criticized Snyder for withholding the state benefits, Democratic members of Michigan’s federal delegation to Congress called on the Obama administration to deem the marriages valid for the purposes of federal recognition.

    In his statement announcing the decision, Holder noted a similar situation in which he deemed same-sex marriages performed in Utah were valid in the eyes of the Obama administration.

    “For purposes of federal law, as I announced in January with respect to similarly situated same-sex couples in Utah, these Michigan couples will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts before they may seek federal benefits to which they are entitled,” Holder said.

    Read more:

  13. P.
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Our Mayor wrote to the AG:

    Dear Attorney General Schuette,

    As mayor of the city of Ypsilanti, I performed a wedding ceremony on Saturday for a loving couple who have been together for 26 years. Like many other couples who were given marriage licenses in Michigan on March 22, they have a strong, stable relationship spanning decades. They have volunteered tirelessly for their home city of Ypsilanti. In short, they have made Ypsilanti a better place.

    Please drop the appeal of Judge Friedman’s ruling striking down Michigan’s constitutional amendment barring same sex marriage. Give all devoted couples the freedom to marry and declare their commitment to each other and their families.

    Thank you.

    Paul Schreiber

  14. Meta
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Marriage Of 300 Same-Sex Couples Ruled Valid In Michigan

    A Federal District court judge ruled on Jan. 15 that Michigan must respect the marriages of over 300 same-sex couples that were married in March 2014.

    The case, Caspar v Snyder, was filed April 14, 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on behalf of eight same-sex couples who received marriage licenses during a window last March, when a Federal Judge struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. The decision was stayed a day later but not before more than 300 coupes were legally married in the state on March 22. Governor Rick Snyder said that the state would deny respect to the issued licenses even though the federal government said it would respect the rights of the newlywed couples.

    Read more:

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  1. […] some, like Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, see this as a huge victory against racism. “Our state Constitution requires […]

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