Judge won't rule on gay marriage ban prior to SCOTUS decisions - KMSP-TV

Mich. judge won't rule on gay marriage ban prior to Supreme Court decisions

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April DeBoer is challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage in court.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) April DeBoer is challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage in court. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
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DETROIT (WJBK) -

April DeBoer and her partner, Jayne Rowse, are still hopeful, but still in limbo.  Judge Bernard Friedman stayed a decision on the couple's efforts to overturn the gay marriage ban in Michigan until the U.S. Supreme Court decides two cases currently before the justices there.

"We ultimately do want what's best for our kids, and the second parent adoption, again, has always been what we are after," said Rowse.

DeBoer and Rowse are the parents of three special needs children they adopted, but because of Michigan law, they're not able to jointly adopt them.  Michigan law only allows single or married people to adopt, and Michigan law does not allow gay people to marry.  So the children cannot legally have two parents.

Rowse has adopted four-year-old Nolan and three-year-old Jacob, and DeBoer has adopted three-year-old Ryanne.

The women initially challenged Michigan adoption law, but Judge Friedman urged the women and their attorneys to challenge the ban on gay marriage, so they did.

"Michigan has the worst laws in the country, and this is a pervasively discriminatory policy in Michigan," said attorney Carole Stanyar.  "I think it's going to be overturned."

In court this day, Stanyar argued Michigan's ban on gay marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution.  The state argued Michigan citizens voted for the ban in 2004, and the women should challenge it in the state legislature.

Judge Friedman said he would wait for the Supreme Court to lead the way.

"Our opinion has always been it's never too soon to have equal rights for Michigan citizens, and we feel very optimistic that eventually that is going to be the case," said attorney Dana Nessel.

Judge Friedman said he expects the Supreme Court to rule on its cases by June, then he would be able to make his decision.  However, Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton said by then it could be too late.

"This judge could very well be bound by the Supreme Court.  Essentially today Judge Friedman punted.  He said let them decide, not me," remarked Langton.  "I thought Judge Friedman had an opportunity to actually change law.  I think there are a lot of arguments to be said that same-sex marriage is constitutional and that same-sex marriage should exist today.  Why?  Because times have changed."

"I understand that the voters decided.  That was the big state argument, but the problem here is that the voters cannot vote on something that is blatantly or could be considered unconstitutional," he added.

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