Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the state’s voter-backed ban on using affirmative action as a criteria in determining college admissions should guide the court in deciding Michigan’s gay marriage case.
Schutte filed a brief Wednesday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in which he repeatedly argued that because the Supreme Court had upheld Michigan voters’ rights in the affirmative action case, the same logic should be used in determining the gay marriage case, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Schutte is appealing a March ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who said the 2004 voter-backed ban on gay marriage is a violation of same-sex couples’ due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.
In a statement after the Supreme Court’s 6-2 decision on the affirmative action case, Schuette called the decision “monumental” and “a victory for the Constitution, a victory for Michigan citizens, and a victory for the rule of law.”
The ban on using affirmative action to decide college admissions was approved by voters in 2006 and Schuette said their actions “enshrined the basic concept of equality and fairness into our Constitution.”
“It is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of their skin,” he said after the high court’s April 22 ruling.
In his 6th Circuit brief Wednesday, Schuette noted that as Justice Anthony Kennedy explained in the affirmative action ruling, it is “demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and moral grounds. Democracy does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive or too profound for public debate.”
He said the case, which initially had been brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse who said their inability to marry prohibited them from adopting each other’s children, isn’t centered on adoption issues.
“As a society, we wish that all children had loving parents, no matter what their sexual orientation may be,” he wrote. “This appeal is also not about whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The district court did not reach that issue, correctly recognizing that marriage is a topic left to the people to decide at the ballot box. Out of respect for democracy and to be consistent with the restrained and limited role of a federal court judging the rationality of a legislative choice left to the people, this Court should reverse.”
Michigan is one of 33 U.S. states where referendums defining marriage as between one man and one woman have been passed. In the 17 states with laws legalizing gay marriage, six resulted from court decisions, eight resulted from action in legislatures and three were by popular vote.
“If the people of a State choose, as the people of 33 states including Michigan have, to retain the definition of marriage they have always recognized, so that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, their decision is also entitled to respect,” he wrote.
DeBoer and Rowse have until early June to respond to Schuette’s brief. The case is expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps later this year. Several other states
Take the poll and talk to us in the comments:
- Can the same reasoning in the decision upholding Michigan’s voter-backed ban on the use of affirmative action as admissions criteria at universities be applied in an appeal of a ruling declaring Michigan’s voter-backed gay marriage ban unconstitutional?