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MI Same-Sex Couples Watch, Wait for SCOTUS Decision

PHOTO: Tari Muniz and her partner Kim hope to finally be able to make their marriage a reality, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that states have an obligation to perform same-sex marriages. Photo courtesy of T. Muniz.
PHOTO: Tari Muniz and her partner Kim hope to finally be able to make their marriage a reality, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that states have an obligation to perform same-sex marriages. Photo courtesy of T. Muniz.
April 27, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Is it the will of voters or a court or law that decides who can marry?

The answer many Michiganders have waited years for is almost here, as the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up the issue of marriage equality.

Tari Muniz, 57, of Lansing has been with her partner Kim for nearly six years, and says she's optimistic the high court will rule that states have an obligation to perform same-sex marriages.

She says she firmly believes the tide of public opinion has shifted in the 11 years since Michigan voters approved a same-sex marriage ban.

"Everybody knows someone who is lesbian, gay, transgendered or bisexual at this point,” Muniz stresses. “You know, even if you don't want to admit it, it's pretty hard to say that, 'There's no one in my world or my connection that is an LGBT.'"

The Supreme Court could issue a decision in what is actually a consolidation of cases from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, at any time. However, most legal analysts believe a ruling will come toward the end of the court's term in June.

A candlelight vigil in support of marriage equality takes place on the Michigan State Capitol steps today at 6:30 p.m.

Given the current hodgepodge of state laws on same-sex marriage, Muniz says she and her partner easily could have traveled out-of-state to tie the knot, but she says they are committed not just to each other, but to Michigan.

"As lifelong residents, as someone that's paid taxes to the state for over 40 years, I really am invested in doing it here, in my home, with my family and my community," she stresses.

Muniz says no matter what happens at the Supreme Court, there is still work to be done in Michigan and across the nation to ensure fair treatment of LGBT citizens.

"The fact that we still don't have equal civil rights is even more important, on some level,” she says. “We could legally get married, and then get fired because we got legally married."

Roughly 300 same-sex couples were married in Michigan last March during a short-lived window that opened when a federal judge in Detroit struck down Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.



Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI