Michigan: Gov. Snyder Avoids Concrete Answers on Marriage

Though there are several marriages in limbo in Michigan after a federal court issued a stay on marriage licenses, the governor's office has been quietly avoiding the matter.

BY Michelle Garcia

March 25 2014 2:04 PM ET

Michigan's governor has been acting cautiously when it comes to speaking of the legality of same-sex marriages performed over the weekend after a federal judge ruled that the state's ban on such unions was unconstitutional.

Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican who is up for reelection this year, has declined to state whether Michigan will recognize the unions of the 300 couples who wed or the ruling on marriage equality. Though he did initially say those marriages are "moot" due to a stay placed by the federal court, pausing the issuing of licenses, a Snyder spokeswoman backtracked on his statement.

"We are not saying that we aren’t or won’t recognize the marriages that happened on Saturday," spokeswoman Sarah Wurfel told the Associated Press, "but that we’re awaiting further court or legal direction on this complex, unusual situation. … Either way, this can’t be construed one way or another as not recognizing the validity of the same sex marriages. The order is stayed (at least until Wednesday), [so the] issue is moot at this point until resolved."

Rick Czuba, CEO of the Glengariff Group, which polled Michigan voters on marriage equality last month, said Snyder was attempting to avoid angering the base of Republicans, 60% of whom still oppose marriage equality, while not angering independents, who generally support it. Overall, 56% of Michiganders polled said they supported marriage equality, while 34% opposed it.

During his first gubernatorial debate in 2010, Snyder said, "Marriage is between a man and a woman," notes the Detroit Free Press. Since he took office, he signed a law denying health benefits to civil partners of state employees, and in 2013 he would not state his position on repealing Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.

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