Michigan Ban on Gay Marriage Headed to Trial
If you haven’t been following Michigan’s marriage equality news closely, the state’s equality activists were hoping today would prove a win for gays and lesbians to be able to legally marry in the state. Unfortunately, a federal judge has just declared that the fate of Michigan’s ban on gay marriage will be decided in a trial Feb. 25, disappointing gay-rights activists who thought his decision would be immediate.
Pictured above: Nolan, 4, left, poses on Oct. 14, 2013, with April DeBoer, 42, Jacob, 3, Ryanne, 3, and Jayne Rowse, 48. DeBoer and Rowse are asking the court to overturn a 2004 Michigan law that prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in the state and to declare unconstitutional Michigan’s Adoption Code, which prohibits joint adoption by gay or lesbian couples.
USA Today reports:
The issue landed in the hands of U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who in June refused to toss out a lesbian couple’s lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on adoption by unmarried couples. Friedman, citing the June U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized legally married gay couples, concluded the plaintiffs are “entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.”
The women want the right to pursue their dream of having a family while the state’s position is that only men and women can marry and have children.
At an afternoon hearing, Friedman was expected to decide on the constitutionality of Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and determine whether or not the state is unlawfully discriminating against two nurses who want to get married and adopt each others’ children.
“I’m in the middle. I have to decide this as a matter of law. I intend to do so,” Friedman said. But he also said that he would not rule now.
If Friedman had lifted the ban without issuing a stay, same-sex marriage would have legal in Michigan until, and unless, a higher court overturns it. As of now the status quo remains: no gay marriage in Michigan.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that a ruling will come,” Dana Nessel, one of four lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said before the hearing. “When you have waited this long for some semblance of equality, you kind of want it right now. You don’t want to wait any longer.”
Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
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