Same-sex couples marry in Michigan shortly before court halts licenses
By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:38 PM EDT, Sat March 22, 2014(CNN)
-- The weddings have happened -- but will they count?
A day after a federal judge struck down a Michigan state amendment restricting marriage to between one man and one woman, gay and lesbian couples lined up Saturday to make their unions official.
"We never thought that we'd see this day," said Ann Watson, who wed her partner of more than 23 years. "In that sense, it's amazing."
Watson -- who works for Turner Broadcasting System, an entity that includes CNN -- and her partner were one of 57 couples to get same-sex marriage licenses in Ingham County, according to county clerk Barb Byrum.
Byrum, a Democrat elected to the county clerk post, said that she personally performed 30 ceremonies in Mason.
"Today was an awesome day," Byrum tweeted.
Not all county clerks followed suit by taking the abnormal step of opening up their offices on a weekend. But there were a few others, such as in Oakland County, according to CNN affiliate WDIV.
There, in Pontiac, Frank Colasonti and James Ryder arrived early for the chance to marry after 26 years together.
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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican whose term expires later this year, announced on Friday evening he'd filed an emergency request for U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman's order to be stayed and appealed.
"In 2004, the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable," Schuette said. "Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our state constitution, and their will should stand and be respected."
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an order Saturday to temporarily stay through at least Wednesday the decision by Friedman. In its brief order, the court explained that it did so "to allow a more reasoned consideration of the motion to stay."
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