The waiting continues…
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard final arguments today in the case of DeBoer v Snyder and Schuette which is a challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. The case started as a lawsuit by Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, a lesbian couple who wanted equal custody rights of their adopted children, something not permitted under Michigan law. Justice Friedman suggested they go to the heart of the matter and challenge the constitutionality of the marriage ban which they decided to do.
Although Justice Friedman seems very inclined toward striking down Michigan’s bigoted law, he said today that he is not yet prepared to rule. Acknowledging that the issue is important and that time is of the essence, Friedman said, “I’m in the middle. I have to decide this as a matter of law. I intend to do so.” However, he said, there are some fact issues that he must resolve first and he will expedite the process. He has decided there will be a trial and set February 25th as the date of opening arguments.
Emily Dievendorf, managing director for Equality Michigan, issued the following statement:
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.
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.
This case has profound ramifications for not just Michigan but for the entire country. It could very well be the case that forces the U.S. Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in the United States of America.