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picture source: Washington Post

picture source: Washington Post

Gov. Snyder: Michigan will recognize about 300 gay marriages

Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan will recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed during a brief window when they were allowed last year.

The Republican governor announced Wednesday that he won’t appeal a ruling that the state must recognize the marriages. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith had said the marriages are valid but put on hold his decision for 21 days pending any appeal.

“The judge has determined that same-sex couples were legally married on that day, and we will follow the law and extend state marriage benefits to those couples,” said the governor in a statement. “I appreciate that the larger question will be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year. This is an issue that has been divisive across our country. Our nation’s highest court will decide this issue. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and it’s vitally important for an expedient resolution that will allow people in Michigan, as well as other states, to move forwardtogether on the other challenges we face.”

Michigan’s recognition of the marriages could affect couples’ health insurance coverage and their ability to jointly adopt.

A different federal judge struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban last March. Same-sex couples in four counties married the next day, before an appeals court suspended the decision and blocked additional marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court has since decided to consider the legality of Michigan’s 2004 voter-approved ban.

Michigan mom turns to medical marijuana for daughter in need

A Michigan mom says she is breaking the law so she can help her daughter’s seizures and she’s doing it with medical marijuana, which is not legalized in Michigan.

According to Belinda Phillips, since she started administering medicinal marijuana, it’s cut her daughter’s seizures by 90 percent. Her 21-year-old daughter, Marlee, has a genetic condition that caused her to have seizures most of her life but she says medical marijuana made a drastic change.

“It’s medicine,” she said. “I’m just shocked, she’s been on everything and this has been the most beneficial medicine that she’s ever been on.”

Marlee use to have had 8 to 15 seizures a day. That was until last January when she started taking a capsule of concentrated medical marijuana. Since then, Phillips said her seizures are down to maybe one a day.

However, getting the medical marijuana is difficult and the law doesn’t help. Still, she doesn’t feel like a criminal.

“I feel like I’m giving my daughter medication but it’s nerve-racking,” she said.

To clarify medical marijuana, there are two bills that will be introduced in the legislature this week. One puts restrictions on dispensaries, the other expands usable forms like the type she uses. Does that mean more kids will use medical marijuana? Not quite, says the National Patient Rights Association.

“We’ll see less kids using marijuana because we’re regulating the distribution,” Robin Schneider said there are approximately 100 kids in Michigan currently using medical marijuana like Marlee.

David Garvelink is a clinical psychologist and wants to see the proof.

“That would be wonderful if it [worked]. I would be in favor of studies that would show that,” he said. “Marijuana makes people high and if you’re high you’re going to feel better. That doesn’t mean you’re truly addressing the problem or that maybe it’s even effective for the problem.”

For now, the future lies in the debate that moves to the state legislature.

Donations reach nearly $300,000 for man who walks 21 miles a day

James Robertson says never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined this.

It all started with a story in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press – and has blossomed into an international phenomenon. What started as a fundraising effort to collect $15,000 for a new car – has turned into nearly $300,000 dollars raised.

Donations poured in, all because of the humble factory worker from Detroit and the almost-marathon walk he makes to get to and from his job in Rochester Hills – every single day – Monday through Friday for 10 years.

“I am just really so surprised by this,” Robertson said.

Evan Leedy is a 19-year-old college student at Wayne State University who didn’t know James – but knew he wanted to help. He started the GoFundMe account – that went viral.

“It just was amazing to me this guy doesn’t have a car and he has such a long commute and he walks the whole way,” Leedy said. “We had donations from Russia, Australia, Macedonia, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.”

“It’s amazing to see these strangers who’ve never met James, they’ve only seen him through these stories. And they’re so willing to help.”

Blake Pollock can’t believe it either – so often while driving he saw James walking. So a year and a half ago, he started picking him up – giving him a ride.

The two became friends and Blake shared the story with the paper – never expecting the outpouring of support would be like this.

“It was fun for me, interesting for me,” Blake said. “Now everybody agrees, James is a cool guy and it is a neat story.”

James says he’s overwhelmed and forever grateful for all this support. But he’s also happy that his story has shed some light on the Detroit metropolitan area’s poor public transportation system.

One that he says leaves a lot of people just like him, walking a long way to make ends meet.

“Maybe it gets them to open their eyes and say hey, there’s a problem and. we need to fix it,” he said.

But now he can afford to get a vehicle. You might be wondering what kind of car James plans to buy – a Ford Taurus. And it is for reasons that make a lot of sense to a man like James.

“They do look dull on the outside but really strong on the inside,” he said. “And that probably describes me best.”

Suffice it to say – Ford Motor Company couldn’t pay for publicity like this.

All from a man who says what he means and means what he says – and shows up to work on time – every single day.

“Even when I step in the car,” he said. “It reminds me of where I came from and where I’ve been.”

Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit

Keep up with the Morning Heat on Instagram and Twitter at @hiphopdetroit

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