A Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Could Mean Change In Michigan

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LANSING (WILX)--If the Supreme Court makes a ruling on California's Proposition 8 it could potentially mean a change here in Michigan.

The states ban on same sex marriages could be overruled by a broad decision. One Lansing couple is hoping for just that, so they will be recognized one day soon.

"10 years ago it was a pipe dream. Now it's a reality. It's not a question of if, but of how many years," said Chris Swope.

Swope wears a wedding band, but his marriage isn't recognized in the state.

"My husband and I got married in Canada in 2004. We could literally see Detroit from where we said our vows. It was bittersweet," said Swope.

He holds out hope that a Supreme Court decision on California's marriage law could mean change for Michigan.

"The Supreme Court could make a broad decision or a narrow decision. A narrow decision would not make an impact but a broad one could impact what's happening here," said Swope.

It's possible, but a long shot.

"It doesn't directly effect Michigan. Michigan does have a constitutional ban on gay marriage that was enacted in 2004. So, it could be a decision that could give guidance to the Michigan legislature, but we just don't know," said Cooley Law School Associate Director James Robb.

If it doesn't happen now, other's are positive it won't take much longer for same sex marriage to be recognized nationally.

"We're at a pivotal moment nationally. Politically and culturally we are changing in our discussions of marriage and of the rights of all people. It's not just about marriage but taxes and a variety of legal protections that are afforded under the law of marriage," said gay rights activist Allegra Smith.

For Swope, he just wants to be able to enjoy the right's and responsibilities that come with being a married couple.

"We want to participate in that. The marriage vows strengthen it even more," said Swope.

Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear a similar case, one that could potentially decide if the federal government would recognize same sex marriage in the states that allow it.

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