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Marriage Equality

Judge Sets Date for Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Ban Trial

Judge Sets Date for Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Ban Trial


With the Supreme Court's recent rulings in favor of marriage equality, a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban will soon be heard.

Lesbian couple Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer were told by a federal judge in Michigan in March that their lawsuit challenging the state's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban would have to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. However, now that SCOTUS has issued decisions on both DOMA and Proposition 8 that were in favor of same-sex marriage, that same judge has said the "plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it," reports

Rowse and DeBoer, who live in the Detroit suburbs, filed their lawsuit based on their desire to jointly adopt their three children. They say the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause should invalidate a ban on same-sex marriage that voters approved in 2004 and that prevents them from being recognized as a couple during adoption proceedings.

Judge Bernard Friedman cited the SCOTUS decision on DOMA as the reason the couple's case had merit, saying, "Plaintiffs' equal protection claim has sufficient merit to proceed. The United States Supreme Court's recent decision in United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (U.S. Jun. 26, 2013), has provided the requisite precedential fodder for both parties to this litigation. Plaintiffs are prepared to claim Windsor as their own."

Friedman plans to set a trial date at a conference scheduled for July 10.

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