It was a busy day at the Marquette County Clerk’s office.
At least three couples have already filed with the clerk for same-sex marriage after a ruling from the Supreme Court earlier today, June 26.
“Not only is it now a constitutional right, but a fundamental right,” Bobby Glenn Brown of Marquette said with a tear in his eye. “It’s just an exciting, emotional day I never thought I’d see.
Robin Cook and Patty Copley already had their marriage officiated at the courthouse, making them the first same-sex marriage in Marquette County.
“We made a little history today,” said Marquette County Clerk Linda Talsma, who officiated the ceremony. “I was proud to be a part of it.”
For Brown and Richards, today will be marked as a special day in their relationship.
“June 14 was our first date and what we consider to be our anniversary and July 19 was when California recognized us. Now June 26 is the day the United States has recognized us after 30 years of heartfelt commitment,” he said.
Governor Rick Snyder said that Michigan will respect the ruling, but other states like Texas and Mississippi have already said there will be a delay or other issues to address. But the ending of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion shows that there is little room for response.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” he wrote.
As far as the forms go in Michigan, there is little change. Instead of bride and groom, it now says applicant #1 and #2 with a box to check for male or female. Fees and requirements will remain the same. The forms were emailed to clerks across the state and the formal printed forms will arrive next week.
For transsexual persons and those who do not identify with a gender, Talsma said the gender will be determined by what was listed on the birth certificate. Michigan requires a birth certificate for a marriage license anyway and paperwork could be changed with the proper protocols. An issue regarding gender has not happened yet in Marquette.
The 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court makes the U.S. the 20th country to legalize same-sex marriage. The first country was the Netherlands in 1999. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize in 2004.
Brown said that regardless of the decision’s effects on same-sex marriage that it doesn’t take away from already established marriages.
“Just because Don and I have a license, please don’t think that takes away from your love and commitment,” he said. “It’s about inclusion, not exclusion.”