Oakland County Clerk working to amend state marriage license

Oakland County Clerk working to amend state marriage license

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OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) -

In anticipation of a ruling overturning Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown is working with the State Registrar's office to amend Michigan's marriage license.

"Too many couples have had to wait too long," says Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown. "I don't want them to have to wait another minute."

The language on the license -- now strictly male and female, husband and wife -- would have to change.

"Those boxes would still be on there, if that's what you want to pick," Brown explains. "It could be wife and wife; it doesn't have to be husband and wife."

It could even be husband and husband if Judge Bernard Friedman rules in favor of April Rowse and Jayne DeBoer, a lesbian couple suing to jointly adopt their three special needs children.

Judge Friedman encouraged the couple to challenge the state ban on gay marriage. Governor Snyder, the Attorney General and the former Oakland County Clerk are all defendants in the case. Now that Lisa Brown is the clerk, she is supporting the plaintiffs.

"It's about equality, plain and simple," Brown says. "I can't believe it's 2013 and we still don't have equality in this country - let alone this state."

There could also be an economic benefit to legalizing same-sex marriage. Michigan is struggling financially, and weddings are a big business. Those who make them happen say if more people are getting married, it can only be good for the economy.

"I think weddings, I think all of Michigan would benefit from the economics of people opening up and feeling free to go where they want to go," says Marsha Hogerheide, owner of Buttercream Bakeshop in Wixom.

It's an observation that isn't lost on the Oakland County Clerk.

"You are really cutting off a wonderful population of people when you say we're not going to recognize your relationship with somebody," Brown says.  "We're the only state that lost population with the last census - this kind of policy is why we need to change this."

Those opposed to overturning the ban feel very differently. Attorney General Bill Schutte recently filed a statement saying, "The Michigan Marriage Amendment fosters the State's legitimate interest in promoting responsible natural procreation, which, in turn, promotes raising children in a home environment with both a mother and a father, giving the children the benefit of having a role model of both sexes."

Judge Friedman will hear the case in October.

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