- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - Many Michigan gay couples quickly married Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in a case involving two Detroit-area nurses who said they were elated “that this day has finally come.”

A judge last year said Michigan’s 2004 ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, and the nation’s highest court agreed. Gov. Rick Snyder pledged to comply with the ruling and urged Michigan residents to embrace the state’s diversity by treating everyone with respect.

Flanked by their attorneys, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer of Hazel Park said they were “overwhelmed” by the “surreal” moment.

“We’ve done everything we could to protect our children, and to make sure families like ours have the same safety and security as all other families, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that this day has finally come,” DeBoer said in Ann Arbor, where they gathered with their lawyers and supporters.

They have each adopted two children but hadn’t been able to jointly adopt them because it was tied in Michigan to heterosexual marriage. That will change with the Supreme Court decision.

“Our state government will follow the law and our state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure that we will fully comply. … With this matter now settled, as Michiganders we should move forward positively, embracing our state’s diversity and striving to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Snyder, a Republican.

DeBoer, 44, and Rowse, 50, plan to have U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman marry them in late summer or early fall. He’s the judge who overturned the state’s gay marriage ban in 2014, a decision that eventually landed at the Supreme Court.

“It seems very right to have him be the one to perform the ceremony,” DeBoer told The Associated Press.

About 300 same-sex couples were married last year when gay marriage was allowed in Michigan for about 24 hours. Marriages immediately resumed Friday in some counties where clerks waived the three-day waiting period for a license.

“I’ve got a wife. I’m married. I don’t have to say she’s my partner,” Lee Chaney, 54, said after marrying Dawn Chapel, 53, in Ingham County.

The Rev. Nicolette Siragusa of First Congregational United Church of Christ wore a rainbow collar as she led two women from East Lansing through marriage vows on the courthouse steps in Mason.

“We can live our boring married life just like everybody else,” Lauren Brown, 33, told Lindsey Wren, 37. They laughed.

Wayne County, which includes Detroit, will hold a mass marriage ceremony each weekday in July for heterosexual or same-sex couples, instead of just on Fridays.

In the Upper Peninsula, Marquette County Clerk Linda Talsma sent two women home to get a birth certificate. For $25, she was waiving the waiting period for a license. “I’m not going to stay open any later,” Talsma said. “The doors close at 5 p.m.”

Michigan’s Roman Catholic bishops said they were disappointed with the ruling and predicted “inestimable conflicts” between government and religious freedom. The decision “represents a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family,” the bishops said.


Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteap


Associated Press writers Mike Householder in Ann Arbor and Alisha Green in Mason contributed to this story.



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