Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 8, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 03/08/2013


Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Senate OKs $21M to dredge harbors

LANSING — The Michigan Senate approved $21 million in emergency spending Thursday to dredge 49 Great Lakes harbors facing record-low water levels, an initial move that comes as officials search for permanent funding and solutions.

The bill passed 31-5 and was sent to the House.

Dredging involves removing sediments so water is deep enough for boats and barges. Lake levels continue to decline and the federal government has cut back on dredging, which has frustrated state lawmakers because some of the federal money earmarked for dredging and harbor maintenance has been shifted elsewhere.

No immediate ruling on gay marriage ban

DETROIT — A judge said Thursday that a lesbian couple seeking to jointly adopt children made a “compelling” case that Michigan’s gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution, but he wants to wait for guidance from the Supreme Court before deciding whether to throw it out.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard arguments from the two Detroit-area nurses who filed a lawsuit last year attacking a Michigan law that prohibits them from jointly adopting children because they’re not married. At Friedman’s suggestion, they expanded their challenge to the gay marriage ban approved by 58 percent of Michigan voters in 2004.

But Friedman said he would benefit from seeing how the U.S. Supreme Court handles cases involving a gay marriage ban in California as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Arguments are scheduled later this month in Washington.