March 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

Attorney general doubles down on state's weak case against same-sex marriage

Michael Smith, left, and Frank Markus were married on stage Sunday evening at the Farmington Players. (Stacy Rosati)

Larry and Kitty Dubin first spotted one another in the undergraduate library at the University of Michigan. They’ve been married 44 years.

Frank Markus and Michael Smith met in 1991 at a Halloween party thrown by a bar across the street from Henry Ford’s grave. They’ve been married since Sunday night.

Sort of.

All of the same-sex couples married in Michigan on Saturday are in limbo, pending assorted court rulings. Markus and Smith are in extra-special limbo, since their ceremony took place after Michigan’s overmatched attorney general was granted a stay on the ruling that made marriage OK for couples named Frank and Michael.

Dubin, a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, can’t say for sure what will happen in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, though it’s clear which way he would bet.

One thing he’s certain of is this:

Markus and Smith’s marriage hasn’t affected his one iota.

One of the peculiar arguments against same-sex marriage is that it will somehow undermine the marriages of straight people.

Dubin woke up Monday still married, still happy about it, and still somewhat staggered by the weakness of the state’s case.

Wedded bliss remains

He was in law school when he met Kitty, and he can’t help but sound lawyer-like even as he extolls the virtues of wedded union.

“From my perspective,” he says, any loving, caring couple “enriches the institution. It helps to preserve family values and is a positive event for society.

“It certainly in no way threatens my marriage or the intrinsic value that I place on my marriage.”

As for the intrinsic value of the state’s case, there wasn’t much.

The alleged experts arguing in favor of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages basically based their testimony on sloppy research, religious beliefs or outright fiction.

“The court finds (Mark) Regnerus’ testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” wrote U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, a Ronald Reagan appointee, in the blunt 31-page document explaining his decision.

Regnerus, a sociologist, has had his research rejected by peers and repudiated by his own university — and he was the state’s star witness.

“Considering these were the best experts the state could find,” Dubin says, the opinion was damning, or at the very least darning — and on appeal, the state figures to get socked again.

No 'kumbaya' here

Markus and Smith, meanwhile, remain optimistic that they will someday be able to partake in all the joys of lawful togetherness, like signing the same tax return.

After 22 years together, “We weren’t interested in some little commitment ceremony or kumbaya moment,” says Markus, 50, the technical director at Motor Trend magazine. “We already know we’re committed to each other.”

They had already decided to get married in 2014, somewhere. When the window opened in Michigan, however briefly, they stepped through it and onto the stage at Farmington Players, where Markus would like everyone to know that his debut in “Rumors” is April 25.

Summoned via Facebook, 100 friends laughed, cheered and made merry, briefly. “No chicken dance,” says Smith, 48, a screenwriter, and no lingering: They already had Markus’ company’s suite reserved for a 7:30 p.m. Red Wings game.

Then it was back home to Royal Oak and their 1-year-old beagle/schnauzer mix, Snickers.

Ultimately, Markus says, Snickers will be “so pleased to legally have two daddies, instead of ‘daddy and daddy’s special friend.’”

Otherwise, not much will change — not for them, and certainly not for the Dubins or anyone else.
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