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Posted on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

Ann Arbor's gay community holding rally to discuss next steps in fight for equality

By Ryan J. Stanton

Members of Ann Arbor's gay community plan to rally Wednesday afternoon in the wake of two important U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage.

The Jim Toy Community Center, a nonprofit resource center for the gay community in Ann Arbor, is hosting a "Day of Decision" rally starting at 4 p.m. at Braun Court in Kerrytown.


Sandi Smith, right, with supporters of her City Council campaign at Braun Court in August 2010.

Angela J. Cesere |

The high court Wednesday morning struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples in states that allow same-sex unions. It is also expected to rule on California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

The Ann Arbor group is planning to gather to discuss the implications of the rulings, as well as their next steps in the fight for equality.

"There will be some celebration, and probably some mourning," said Sandi Smith, an openly gay business owner and president of the Jim Toy Community Center.

Smith said the event promises to offer local analysis of what the rulings mean to Michiganders, including the future of the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.

"Michigan's going to be left with some gaps to fill at a minimum, so we're going to have a variety of speakers — some attorneys and local dignitaries — that can share their perspective," she said.

"Even if marriage was made across-the-board legal, it's still legal to discriminate against people even if they're perceived to be gay — someone can refuse you service in a restaurant or an apartment. So those pieces are still missing. There's still discrimination against the LGBT population."

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, will be speaking at the rally at 5:15 p.m. He said he plans to talk about the next steps toward marriage equality in Michigan, highlighting the marriage equality legislative package he helped sponsor this week in the Michigan House.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Scott Straley

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

My husband and I were married in California in 2008 just days before Proposition 8 was voted into law. We've lived in CA, NY, and NJ since then -- and now MI. All of our previous states recognized our marriage for tax purposes leading to complicated and arduous tax preparation headaches. This is the day we've been waiting for for nearly five years. We are so happy that our friends in CA can once again get married. We also have some work to do finding a tax professional to untangle our past returns so we can amend them. (Can we charge the IRS interest and penalties? :P) We look forward to how the momentum from these rulings will shape same-sex marriages in MI. We are preparing to be adoptive parents in MI and would love to have the security of dual parent adoption.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

You should see if the ACLU would help you sue the state of Michigan under Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution. "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state"


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

The government has no business regulating a personal commitment contract between two people, regardless of their choice of a partner.

David Cahill

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I just got a notice from the County Bar Association inviting all lawyers to a "discussion" of the Supreme Court's decisions at the Aut Bar starting at 4:00. So we will have both a rally and a discussion. See you there!