West Michigan Gay Couples Keep Close Eye on Detroit Marriage Case

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (Feb. 24, 2014) —  There are three Battle Creek couples closely watching this week’s gay marriage trial in Detroit. A couple is asking a federal court to rule that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

For Charlie and Chris Fulbright, being legally married in the state of Michigan would mean they could both be legal parents to their future children, “the basic rights that we are denied,” said Chris. “I want to live my life with Charlie until the day I die. I want to raise a family with him.”

Chris changed his last name as a symbol of the couple’s decade-long commitment and said the process could be simplified if same sex couples were able to legally marry in Michigan.

“I had to see a court counselor to make sure I was in the right mind,” said Chris. “I was basically told to lie to the judge because the judge could deny me changing my last name because I was taking it to be with my husband.”

Another couple, Lynette Rich and Toby Haughey, has been together for 26 years. They are waiting to be legally recognized as married under Michigan law before taking steps to signify their relationship with a ceremony. The couple also said that friends of theirs have been killed for being gay.

“We had to hide out,” said Toby.  “A Congregational church had a coffee house in the basement, and a lot of us gay people who couldn’t really say that we were gay, we all hung out there because it was one of the only places we were safe.”

Both Rich and Haughey have children from a previous heterosexual relationship and said that it’s a constant struggle to argue that same sex couples can raise children in a healthy environment.

“Seeing parents love each other … What you see is what you learn,” said Rich.

As teens, Deana Spencer and Mitzi Harrison developed a romantic connection but were told by family their relationship wasn’t allowed. “We wrote letters through the mail,” said Spencer. “My parents discovered this, and we were forbidden to see each other or speak to each other.” The couple has since gained family and friends’ support.

All three couples are watching this landmark case in Detroit closely. But they say their love will continue no matter what. But a favorable ruling would be a step forward towards rights they feel they long deserve.

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7 comments

  • One If By Sea

    Din't "we the people" of Michigan vote NO to homosexual marriage in our state ?
    So, who is responsible for nullifying our constitutionality protected vote ?
    Who assumes they have the right to disregard the will of the people, to silence our voices ?
    Who is violation their oath of office to uphold the constitution ?

    What gives someone the right to violate the rights of millions of Michigan voters and in turn pander to less than 2% of the population that claims to be homosexual.

    Why when the civil rights of the majority are being infringed upon by those elected to defend those rights, are those same elected officials creating a special protected class .

    The democrats have not joined the nation they have divided it. they have created special class of people who receive more rights, special rights, extra rights beyond what we the majority receive.

    What gives them the right to nullify our sacred vote ?

    Perhaps, its time "we the people" adopt the tactics of the left, stop turning the other cheek, hold corrupt politicians accountable.

    If the homosexuals feel this strong;y, then they should do whats required to get the issue back on the ballot and allow the people of Michigan to vote once again on this issue.
    of course that won't happen,

  • justme

    The fact that you think of another human being as less than you is ignorant and disgusting. Regardless of whether or not gay marriage is legal, gay couples are still going to exist and there’s nothing you can do about that. Whats so wrong with them wanting the same rights as you and i? absolutely nothing. So get a life and get over yourself

  • TheFoundingFathers

    We the people already voted…. NO GAY MARRIAGE! Don't like it move you gay ass to another state that will put up with this sick shit or god forbid try and get it on the ballot again so we can vote it down again!

  • emi

    I use to think gays were very wrong, disgusting, & unruly. But then I met the two gentlemen (Chris and Charlie Fulbright) and they are happy and kind. It really made me think- is being gay really a problem? I mean these are proud people! Let them be proud in public too! They wouldn't want to ban others from happiness why are we banning theirs? Religious or not isn't the issue. The issue is people being afraid to be judged and that's silly. #PEACE and #EQUALITY and #FREEDOM ….yes FREEDOM!! AMERICA HAS LOST SO MUCH FREEDOM and that is not what the fundamentals were about!