Cox: Defend Traditional Marriage

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

September 27,  2010

            LANSING - Attorney General Mike Cox today announced that Michigan has joined Indiana, Virginia and Louisiana before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to challenge a district court ruling that overturned California's marriage amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.  The amicus brief filed today in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger supports an appeal in defense of the California marriage law.  Michigan was one of four lead states to participate in the drafting of the amicus brief.

 "Traditional marriage between one man and one woman is a foundational institution of our society, and the federal government and judicial activists should not interfere with the states' protection of marriage," said Cox.  "The recent decision to overturn California's marriage amendment threatens marriage laws in Michigan and forty-four other states, and it should be reversed."

On August 4, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker issued a ruling that overturned California's Proposition 8, a state Constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  On August 17, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay of the ruling, pending review of the decision on appeal.  The appeal is scheduled to be heard by a panel of three judges from Ninth Circuit the week of December 6, 2010.

Cox's office drafted the states' brief in support of the appeal in cooperation with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.  The brief argues what the U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized -- that states have a sovereign right to regulate the institution of marriage, and the federal government cannot impose itself upon that realm.  The states also argue that the democratic choice to support traditional marriage made by citizens in 45 states should be respected and preserved.  Michigan's own Marriage Protection Amendment was approved by 58.6% of voters in 2004. 

Attorney General Cox defended the Marriage Protection Amendment by issuing an Attorney General Opinion in 2005 that public employers could not provide benefits to same-sex domestic partnerships on the basis of the existence of a union similar to marriage.  Cox intervened and successfully defended this view in the National Pride v. Granholm case before the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Including Michigan, there are thirteen states currently signed on to the brief defending state marriage laws before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, and Louisiana drafted the brief, with Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming signing on. Click here to see a copy of the brief.  

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