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Breaking: Federal Judge Delays Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Decision

by David Badash on March 7, 2013

in Marriage,News,Politics

Post image for Breaking: Federal Judge Delays Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Decision

A U.S. Circuit Court judge has delayed his decision in a shocking case that could overturn Michigan‘s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and make marriage equality the law of the land. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman today announced he is postponing his decision — which some were expecting today — and waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases it will hear later this month.

READ: Same-Sex Marriage Might Be Legal In Michigan By The End Of The Day Today

The case itself, of two lesbian parents raising three special needs children they were forced to adopt separately, as Michigan does not allow same-sex couples to adopt, originally contested only Michigan’s adoption law, but the judge himself suggested the couple, who are both nurses, April Deboer and her partner Jayne Rowse (image, above, with their three children,) challenge the state’s nine-year old constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

Jean Ann Esselink, a contributing author at The New Civil Rights Movement, reports Judge Friedman said he would find the Supreme Court decisions, which are expected in June, “instructive” and that it wouldn’t be fair to either party to rule until the Supreme Court ruled. The attorney for April Deboer and Jayne Rowse, Carol Staynor, asked for a chance to change his mind, saying this case has different facts than the cases the Supreme Court will be hearing later this month. Judge Friedman declined.

Before concluding, the Judge Friedman asked the state, “What is your best argument?” Attorneys for the state responded that “sexual orientation is not a protected group.” Judge Friedman did not seem at all impressed by that argument, Esselink reports.

And in fact, the state of Michigan’s entire argument in the case rests on this paragraph submitted to the Court:

“Michigan’s limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples is rationally related to legitimate state interests—the preservation of the historic institution of marriage as a union of one man and one woman, which in turn, uniquely fosters responsible natural procreation, which in turn, promotes raising children in a home environment with both a mother and a father. Opposite-sex marriages have been recognized as promoting these ‘long-standing societal benefits’ because they are the only sexual relationship capable of producing children.”

The New Civil Rights Movement has been reporting on the case, which has gotten amazingly little media attention, despite its possibility of overturning a constitutional ban, since its inception.


For more, read The New Civil Rights Movement’s Jean Ann Esselink‘s reports:

On Our Radar – Do Children In Same-Sex Families Have A Right To Be Equal?

Federal Judge Encourages Lesbian Couple To Take On Michigan’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Michigan Couple Take Judge’s Suggestion To Challenge State’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Oakland County Refuses To Defend Michigan’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption


You can help support April and Jayne through the Deboer Rowse Fund, which is also on Facebook.

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goodasU March 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

Justice delayed is justice denied, Judge Friedman.

Stand up for equality, and "Liberty and Justice for ALL".

sdfrenchie March 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Can Judge Friedman not think for himself that he has to follow the lead of other judges? Ridiculous. Michigan is my home state. I love Michigan but can't stand the cold. I miss the wonderful people, especially their sense of humor even during struggles. I don't know how they wound up with narrow-minded legislators in a state where people generally live and let live.

tomocat September 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I too am originally from the Great Lake State, and I have a soft spot in my heart for it, since my son and grandchildren are living there, and I am supposed to move back in the near future. I am nonetheless troubled by all the lurching to the troglodyte past going on in the state legislature. The Republicans have lost what little minds they began with, and while the Democrats are no picnic in the park, at least they are not trying to deny rights to whole groups of people. The Michigan government gives the impression they would just as soon see all the blacks, Hispanics and gays get the hell out and leave the state to the decent, white, conservative Christian folk. I left the state in 1973, partly as a reaction to the disapproval of the majority to my orientation, but it seems to have gotten much worse. I'm hopeful that saner heads will once again gain control before I once again take up residence there.

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