Woman Allegedly Assaulted After Taking Part In One Of Michigan's First Gay Marriages

Woman Allegedly Assaulted After Taking Part In One Of Michigan's First Gay Marriages

A Michigan woman who married her partner during a brief respite from the state's ban on same-sex marriage was violently assaulted after being recognized from news coverage,according to news reports.

The Ann Arbor News reports the 28-year-old woman got off a bus in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan around 6 p.m. on Monday. She encountered three men while walking through a parking lot on Roundtree Boulevard.

One of the men addressed her using a derogatory term for a woman and a gay slur, asking if she was from the news, the Detroit News reported.

The assault quickly turned violent. One of the men punched her in the face, knocking her unconscious, the woman told police. When she regained consciousness, she said one of the men was kicking her in the torso. The trio then fled on foot. The woman was later able to provide a description of one of her attackers to police.

The woman had recently been featured in news reports after marrying her same-sex partner in a civil ceremony in Washtenaw County on March 22. Michigan voters approved a ban on gay marriage in 2004, but it was struck down March 21 in a ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman after two Detroit-area nurses filed a lawsuit arguing Michigan had no rational basis to deny their right to marry and adopt each other's children.

After Judge Friedman's historic ruling, four county clerk's offices opened on a Saturday, the next day, to legally wed same-sex couples. More than 300 couples were married that day.

But the freedom for same-sex couples to wed in Michigan was short-lived: the U.S. Sixth Court of Appeals indefinitely suspended any further same-sex unions the next week. Although Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said the marriages were legal at the time, he announced the state will not recognize any rights or benefits resulting from those unions while the appeal is pending. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, however, announced the marriages will receive federal recognition.

"There are times when maintaining the status quo makes sense," attorneys for plaintiffs Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer had written, according to the Associated Press. "There are also times when maintaining the status quo is merely a kinder label for perpetuating discrimination that should no longer be tolerated. The public interest in this case lies on the side of ending discrimination, promoting equality and human dignity and providing security for children."

Meanwhile, the Ypsilanti City Council (which is a separate jurisdiction from the township where the alleged attack occurred) will vote Tuesday night on a resolution asking the state of Michigan to reconsider its request for a stay on Friedman's ruling, thus allowing same-sex marriages to be performed.

Anyone with information about the crime can anonymously contact the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s office confidential tip line at 734-973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.