2014 : Ingham County Court Clerk Performs First Legal Gay Marriage

March 22, 2022 all-day

The state’s first gay marriage was performed shortly after 8 a.m. today at the historic courthouse in Mason.

Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 52, both of Lansing, were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum in the courthouse lobby after the clerk opened her office at 8 a.m. and issued them a license.

Ingham’s clerk Byrum, who normally opens at 8 a.m. only Monday through Friday, raced to get ahead of a the stay that Attorney General Bill Schuette is seeking on an emergency basis from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

She also got ahead of other county clerks in Michigan who announced they would open at 9 a.m.

 Beth Fisher/WWJ Newsradio 950)

(Credit: Beth Fisher/WWJ Newsradio 950)

As word spread, Byrum had peformed three wedding ceremonies by 8:30 a.m. By the time her office closed Saturday, she had issued 57 marriage licenses and performed 30 ceremonies.

Byrum, a prominent Michigan Democrat and former state representative who initially said she would not start issuing licenses until Monday, said the situation left her unable to sleep.

“So many people have been waiting long enough,” Byrum said. “The more I thought about the more absurd it seemed to make them wait until Monday morning.”

Byrum praised her staff for showing up to help with the paperwork, without knowing whether or how they would be paid.

For the full article, see Paul Egan, Eric D. Lawrence, Katrease Stafford and Niraj Warikoo, “Michigan’s first gay marriage performed in Ingham County; couples line up in Oakland”, Detroit Free Press, March 22, 2014.

For a follow-up article, see “Michigan Issues 1st Same-Sex Marriage License; Gay Couples Line Up To Tie The Knot”, CBS Detroit,

Tresa Baldas, “Same-sex couples celebrate first year of marriage”, Detroit Free Press, March 22, 2015.

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