By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com March 21 2014 7:23 PM ET
The moment Jayne Rowse and April BeBoer have waiting years for finally arrived Friday afternoon when a federal judge struck down Michigan's constitutional ban on recognition of same-sex marriages.
Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ was there to capture the moment at the couple's kitchen table as their attorney, Dana Nessel, read portions of U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman's decision finding that Michigan's voter-approved constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution.
"It's unbelievable," DeBoer, 42, said in the moments after hearing the decision. "We got our day in court. We won."
The Associated Press notes that although the couple, who have been together more than a decade and have three adopted children, served as the plaintiffs in the landmark case, neither of the women, who are both nurses, testified in the trial.
Attorneys for the state reportedly told the judge that the women are loving, competent parents, but the state shouldn't recognize their marriage — and subsequently, not allow both women to adopt each of their three children — because 59 percent of Michigan voters in 2004 approved the constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
But Judge Friedman, in a powerful and unequivocal ruling, wasn't convinced by the state's arguments.
"State defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people," Friedman wrote. "No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples."
"The popular origin of [marriage discrimination laws] does nothing to insulate the provision from constitutional scrutiny," Freidman wrote in his ruling determining that the Michigan law violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and promise of due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Watch the moment of victory below.