Students denied marriage licenses



By Shannon Coughlin

Six couples went to the Oakland County Circuit Court on, March 23 to apply for marriage licenses. All six were denied immediately.

They were all same-sex couples.

The couples in question were a group of Oakland University students and friends who participated in a marriage protest arranged by the Gay Straight Alliance.

Students met in the Gender and Sexuality Center, paired up with a “partner” of the same sex, and drove to the court house to apply for marriage licenses. They were all denied and told the state of Michigan doesn’t legally allow same-sex couples to apply.

Blake (last name withheld), a volunteer at the GSC and vice president of Transcend, said he thinks the protest was successful because it brought awareness to the issue.

“To make them really think about it and put a face to the issue is really important,” he said.

GSA arranged a marriage protest last year, but only two couples went to the circuit court. This year, Blake said their goal was to step it up a notch and have more people attend.

He said the protest also helped to convey transgender issues.

Blake identifies as a man and tried to apply for a marriage license with a female. They were denied, though, because Blake’s driver’s license identifies him as female.

OU student Zac Willockx said getting the word out is what’s important.

“Michigan is the fourth lowest state in the country in terms of LGBTQ rights,” he said.

Russell Swanson, who is a friend of GSA members and attended the protest, said there are other ways to help spread awareness.

“I think it’d be good to send letters and call our state representatives,” he said.

Blake said the campus atmosphere at OU is not very LGBTQ friendly so GSA tries not to be too controversial.

“One of our goals next year is to become more politically and socially active,” Blake said.

Contact Grace Wojcik, director of the GSA, at [email protected].


Contact Photographer Shannon Coughlin via email at [email protected]