A federal appeals court has temporarily stopped the distribution of marriage licenses to gay couples in Michigan. The court issued the hold to allow more time to consider a judge's decision to overturn the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. And the Michigan Attorney General's request to stay that decision pending an appeal.
The court's decision to halt gay marriage came less than a day after marriage licenses were first given to same-sex couple. In that time, more than 300 couples received such licenses.
Back in 2004, 59 percent of Michigan voters approved the constitutional ban on gay marriage. But U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled it violates the rights of same-sex couples.
Unlike recent rulings in other states, the judge didn't seek a stay in his decision pending an appeal. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately filed an emergency request for a stay noting that the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and suspended a similar decision in January that struck down Utah's gay-marriage ban.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage. Since December, bans have been overturned in Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, but appeals have put those cases on hold.