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Same-sex couple from Grand Rapids sues to get state to recognize out-of-state marriage


Governor Rick Snyder's statement after a federal court overturns Michigan's ban on same sex marriage in March 2014.

Two Grand Rapids men are suing to try to force Michigan to recognize their same-sex marriage performed in New York state last December.

Brian Morgan and Bruce Merucci got married in New York last year. This spring they filed to jointly own their home after a federal court overturned Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. The state is appealing that decision.

Gov. Rick Snyder saysthe roughly 300 same-sex marriages performed in Michigan after the ruling were valid, but the state will not recognize their rights until the appeal is settled. 

Stephanie Myott represents Merucci and Morgan. Myott says Snyder's rationale left out people like her clients.

“He didn’t make any mention of these thousands of couples that had been married in other states, like Brian and Bruce, and should have been vested with their rights,” Myott said.

The Kent County Clerk's office recently rejected the couple's application to change the deed on their home to jointly own it. She refused the deed transfer because “Michigan doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages at this time.”

The Kent County Clerk and Snyder’s office declined to comment at this time because neither had yet seen the federal complaint.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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