The state of Michigan has filed an emergency request to stay the ruling of a Detroit federal judge who struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage early Friday evening.
Local gay marriage proponents say they are thrilled with the decision, but know this is only the first step in getting marriage certificates in the hands of same-sex couples.
"Everyone in the LGBT community has been on pins and needles waiting for this decision to come down," said Brian Savage, Chairmanof the Board of OutCenter, Southwest Michigan’s resource center for the gay community.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled to overturn a 2004 amendment banning same-sex marriage two weeks after the close of a trial brought by a Detroit-area lesbian couple suing for the right to adopt each other's children and to marry in the state of Michigan.
"We're thrilled that the judge ruled the way he did and everyone's very excited. We understand, too, that this is kind of a 'phase one,'" Savage said. "That there's still more to come but this is definitely a huge victory for LGBT people in Michigan."
Judge Friedman did not stay his ruling, prompting Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to file an emergency stay request shortly after the ruling came down.
“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 in a statement. "Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our State constitution, and their will should stand and be respected. I will continue to carry out my duty to protect and defend the Constitution."
OutCenter Board Member Margo Runkle responded to the Attorney General's statement by pointing out that the vote for the original same-sex ban took place a decade ago.
"It was 10 years ago and I think anyone who has been paying any attention at all, even in the last 2 years, things have just been shifting," Runkle told NewsCenter16. "Public opinion, public support for same sex couples has been shifting dramatically so 10 years doesn't sound like a long time, but it is a very long time."