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The same-sex marriage debate and the court process

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A federal appeals court has suspended gay marriage in Michigan, at least through Wednesday. This, after hundreds of same-sex couples said, "I do."

Michigan's ban on gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional on Friday. Soon after, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette requested a stay. It was granted by the court on Saturday.

What does that mean for the hundreds of same-sex couples in Michigan who tied the knot Saturday?

Newschannel 3's Jessica Harthorn sat down with State Rep. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo) to find out.

It was a day of celebration for 300 same-sex couples in Michigan. Saturday, four counties -- including Muskegon County -- handed out marriage licenses. However, after a stay was made by a federal appeals court, McCann says these couples are in legal limbo.

"Now that the ruling is stayed, even though they have a marriage certificate, it's not going to be recognized under law because it's an appealed process," he says.

He tells Newschannel 3 the process could take months until a final decision on same-sex marriage is determined: "Multiple states have had this same process and that eventually all these cases will get bundled up, basically, and heard as one by the U.S. Supreme Court, after it goes through a few more layers of appeals."

Nearly 60 percent of state voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage only as between a man and a woman. McCann explains how one judge can overturn a state's vote. "Even though it's in a state constitution, a federal judge can say this does not meet the test with the U.S. Constitution, and that's what happened in this case."

McCann says if the state's ban on same-sex marriage is upheld down the road, the marriages performed Saturday would be invalid.

Sunday, Gov. Rick Snyder's officer says it will not immediately recognize the marriages, waiting until the courts make a decision.