Plaintiffs in Michigan Gay Marriage Case Respond to Governor Snyder's Request for Full Appeals Court to Hear Case

Michigan gay marriage plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse responded in a filing in the 6th Circuit Court on Friday, April 11th that a three-judge panel would result in a quicker appeals ruling as opposed to all twenty-three Court of Appeals judges hearing the case, as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder requested in an earlier filing.  Both sides agree in their filings with the Court that the Court should expedite the appeals process, but disagree about which appeals method is ultimately quicker.

DeBoer and Rowse contend in their filing that:

  • "[w]hile the case presents issues of great public and jurisprudential significance, the State Defendants-Appellants now posture the central issue as one that does not exist. They assert that the case [']presents the question whether one of our most fundamental rights – the right to vote – matters['] . . . The State Defendants-Appellants have not presented this desperate argument before; they cite no law whatever to support the assertion that a judicial finding that a state constitutional provision is unconstitutional implicates the right to vote; and well-settled law makes clear that the argument is utterly without merit, since [']fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections[']. West Virginia St. Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 638 (1943). See also City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 448 (1985) ([']the electorate as a whole, whether by referendum or otherwise, could not order city action violative of the Equal Protection Clause[']) . . . "
  • "En banc consideration of this case is not [']necessary to secure or maintain uniformity of the court’s decisions[']. F. R. App. P. 35(a)(1). All of the marriage and marriage-recognition cases decided since the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), have found state bans on same-sex marriage and/or state recognition of marriages lawfully entered into in another state to be unconstitutional. There is no split of authority whatever, either among districts within this Circuit or among the various districts in different circuits . . . "
  • "Similar appeals pending in the Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Circuits are being heard by three-judge panels. Bostic v. Rainey, 4th Cir. #14-1169;1 DeLeon v. Perry, 5th Cir. #14-50196; Kitchen v. Herbert, 10th Cir #13-4178; Bishop v. Smith, 10th Cir #14-5003 and #14-5006 . . . "
  • "Both Windsor, supra, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013), were decided by three-judge panels en route to the Supreme Court. Cf. Windsor v. United States, 699 F.3d 169 (2nd Cir. 2012); Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012) . . . "