Monthly Archives: June 2013

PEOPLE OF FAITH DEMAND MARRIAGE EQUALITY

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image from the national office of The United Church of Christ

As people of faith, we know and trust our God to be perfectly generous with grace and love. Our belief is that God loves each and every person, born anywhere in the world and at any point in history, with a love that will not let them go. We believe that God rejoices when God witnesses love and commitment between two people who are creating a life together. And we believe that God weeps for God’s people any time one is denied basic human rights, especially when this denial of rights is done in God’s name.

Therefore we are standing up for Marriage Equality in the state of Michigan, and we are committed to helping loving couples achieve the basic legal protections they deserve as citizens of the United States of America. And it starts now with the U.S. Supreme Court opinion that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. It starts now as we await Federal Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling in the DeBoer/Rowse case on the constitutionality of the 2004 Michigan ban against same gender marriage and the restrictive laws preventing both parents in a same gender couple from being able to legally adopt their children.

We are asking that any same gender couple in Washtenaw County who would like to get legally married in the State of Michigan to:

  1. Fill out the County Clerk’s marriage application found at http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/clerk_register/cr_vitals_marriage_info.html.. Please be aware this application was not designed for same gender partners, but still fill it out and make changes as necessary. Each partner will need to be over 18 and will need a valid driver’s license/passport, a birth certificate and your social security number. It will cost $20/couple if you are residents of Michigan, $30 if from out of state.
  2. County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum will waive the 3 day waiting period as well as the waiver fee of $50 so couples will be able to apply for and receive their license the same day. His staff will be ready to assist us in this effort.
  3. Watch for news from the U.S. District Court (Fifth District). Judge Friedman could rule as quickly as one or two days after the Supreme Court’s opinions are released. We are looking to see if he rules that the ban on same gender marriage is unconstitutional.
  4. If he does, come to the Washtenaw County Clerk’s office (200 North Main Street, Ann Arbor) at 2:00 on the day that Judge Friedman rules with the marriage license application filled out and with supporting documents in hand. Bring your loved ones and supporters! The more the better!

At the Washtenaw County Clerk’s office, we will do the following:

  1. We will gather to submit the marriage license applications and have an interfaith, non-denominational wedding and/or weddings there at the County Clerk’s Office. We will take into account differences in faiths, or no faith, as well as respecting the fact that many couples may have taken their marriage vows in their places of worship or in the presence of family and friends.
  2. If Judge Friedman does not issue as stay with his ruling AND it takes the opposition some time to get their injunction to stop same gender marriages (pending appeal process) in place, we will have a mass marriage license signing party. There will be clergy from many denominations and faiths on hand to sign as many licenses as we can that day even if it takes us all night!
  3. If there is a stay issued, we will still gather and submit all applications to the County Clerk to be filed and ready for approval the moment that Marriage Equality is a reality in Michigan.
  4. In either case, TOGETHER, we will demand marriage equality. TOGETHER, we will celebrate love and commitment.

Please know that even in the remote event that we can sign marriage licenses in the next week or so, it might take a consider able of time to have these rights
fully in place. There is the possibility that state rights won’t happen until after the appeals process, but the federal rights will be possible as soon as the
government can make the administrative changes needed to implement. A special thank you to County Clerk Kestenbaum for his unwavering support!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware, 734-971-6133
Pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ
http://www.cogsaa.org, pastor@cogsaa.org, https://www.facebook.com/cogsaa