OU couples get legally married, court stops recognizing it

Hundreds of same-sex couples, some from OU, flocked to courthouses to tie the knot after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the Michigan Marriage Act unconstitutional, Friday, March 21.

The lift on the ban allowed the state of Michigan to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

OU Associate Communication Professor, Kathleen Battles was finally able to marry her partner of 21 years, on Saturday.

“I was surprised by how emotional I felt,” Battles said. “How moving it was. How amazing it was waiting in line. Just to have that moment of recognition was pretty powerful and it was pretty amazing.”

Grace Wojcyk is the coordinator of OU’s gender and sexuality center. She also waited in line and married her partner Saturday morning.

“We both had this overwhelming feeling of relief” Wojcyk said. “It just made it seem like it was validating, to have that piece of paper.”

Wojcyk and Battles were but two members of 300 couples who were wed Saturday morning.

We at The Oakland Post applauded this monumental step forward for gay rights in Michigan. Unfortunately, our applause was cut short.

By Saturday afternoon an appeals court placed a stay on the lift. The postponement was originally supposed to be in place until Wednesday, but has since been suspended indefinitely. This means that although the act was ruled unconstitutional and same-sex couples were allowed to get married, no more marriages can take place until the issue is settled in the Sixth Circuit Court.

Battles saw the postponement coming.

“My reaction to that is not entirely surprised,” Battles said. “I feel frustrated for myself. Angry for the other people in the state who are waiting to get married and now can’t.”

Couples still waiting to get married aren’t the only problem the postponement has caused. There still hasn’t been a statement on whether the federal government still recognizes the marriages of the 300 Michigan couples who were wed Saturday.

According to Wojcyk, she has friends who went to the Secretary of State to change their names, but were still turned away.

“It’s like we aren’t married, but we have the paper that says we are,” Wojcyk said. “It’s messed up. Completely messed up.”

Battles is still unsure what the state thinks of her marriage.

“I’d imagine we’re in some kind of strange legal limbo,” Battles said.

We at The Post believe that postponing the overturning of the Michigan Marriage Act is unfair and intolerant. It is time to recognize equal rights for all mankind. In Michigan, same-sex marriage was recognized for less than a day and 300 couples found happiness. Now, due to the postponement, they are left frustrated and confused. They will stay that way for an indefinite period of time. Stand up for those who do not have the same rights as you.

“I want everyone who wants this to have it,” Battles said. “To have that feeling of recognition. Not just me or the 300 couples who showed up Saturday, but everybody.”

The staff editorial is written by members of The Oakland Post’s editorial board.