Federal Judge Hears Arguments on Michigan’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Equality Michigan LogoDETROIT – Today, Judge Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan heard arguments on the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. The judge will hold a trial on February 25, 2014 on the DeBoer v Snyder and Schuette case regarding adoption and marriage equality in Michigan.

“Equality Michigan applauds the DeBoer and Rowse family, along with their legal team, for their important legal work on behalf of LGBT families in Michigan. We remain hopeful that Judge Friedman will come to the same conclusion as a majority of Michigan voters, that treating LGBT couples as second-class citizens in Michigan helps no one. Denying this couple full legal recognition of their relationship only makes daily life more challenging for the DeBoer-Rowse family, and especially for the three children that April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse have given a loving home,” said Emily Dievendorf, managing director for Equality Michigan.

Dievendorf continued, “Judge Friedman’s ruling could have a profound impact on thousands of families in Michigan. We are eager and ready to hear what the judge has to say. Whatever the outcome of this case, Equality Michigan is committed to ensuring all LGBT families have equality under the law, and we will continue to work until that dream is realized.”

On January 23, 2012, private lawyers filed a federal lawsuit in the 6th Circuit on behalf of April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who were seeking the freedom to jointly adopt their three children who they raised as foster moms. Michigan law prevents unmarried couples from jointly adopting children. On August 29, 2012, Judge Friedman expanded the lawsuit to challenge the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in the state explaining that the constitutional amendment prohibiting the couple from adopting their children is also what prohibits the couple – and all same-sex couples in Michigan – from marrying.

Same-sex couples around Michigan are prepared to marry should the judge declare Michigan’s ban violates the US constitution. Numerous county clerks and dozens of clergy are already prepared to help the couples as they arrive in the coming hours and days.

Equality Michigan, the only statewide advocacy and anti-violence organization serving Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, has been providing resources to LGBT families seeking equality for over 20 years. The group is coordinating a coalition of organizations working to bring marriage equality to Michigan. Last week Equality Michigan unveiled a Marriage Equality Center to help prepare LGBT couples for today’s ruling, it is available online at www.equalitymi.org/marriage.

Equality Michigan has made a long-term commitment to supporting LGBT families, and will continue to work with the organizations they partnered with for this project – Affirmations, Inclusive Justice, Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion, and Michigan UU Social Justice Network – to maintain the list of clergy after the conclusion of the DeBoer v Snyder and Schuette case.

Via press release