A Michigan gay couple who have been together for eight years have the right to get married, ruled a federal judge, defining that Michigan’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. By striking down the prohibition, United States Federal Judge Bernard Friedman has become the ninth judge to go against state gay marriage bans in consecutive cases. Since December of 2013, judges in Utah, Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma have ruled that bans on gay marriages are unlawful.
Judge Friedman stated that numerous Michigan citizens have religious beliefs whose principles rule the conduct of their personal lives and create their own perspectives about marriage, but these views cannot be allowed to take away the guarantees of equal protection of other U.S. citizens under the law.
He did not give any type of stay with his ruling, which means that it appears county clerks would have to accept gay marriages as soon as Monday morning. However Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette declared that he had filed an emergency appeal to stop the ruling from being put into effect, while it pends appeal, and that he expected it to be given. He added that the population of Michigan feels that variety in parenting is what is best for families and children because dads and moms are not switchable. He said he would continue to carry out his duty to defend and protect Michigan’s constitution.
All this happened because lesbian couple Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer of Hazel Park, Michigan decided to challenge Michigan’s constitutional amendment which defined marriage as being between only a man and woman. The amendment was approved by nearly 60 percent of state voters back in 2004. The two women argued that the measure went against both the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The judge did not address the due process matter, but stated that the ban discriminated against couples of the same sex, which is in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the endowment does not improve any imaginable genuine state interest.
Both DeBoer, age 42, and Rowse, age 49, are nurses in the city of Detroit and work as foster parents. They originally adopted three children as single parents, but then attempted to adopt the children as a couple but under Michigan law; they would only be able to that if they were a married couple.
DeBoer expressed exhilaration at the judge’s verdict. She stated that they had waited for a very long time for the day when she could call Jayne her legal wife and that the both of them could have the peace of mind knowing their children would finally have two lawful parents. Knowing that day is soon to come means the world to both of us.
However during a trial last fall that went on for two weeks, experts on either side of the coin gave evidence to how same-sex couples help or hurt the raising of children. The state of Michigan argued that children needed parents of both sexual categories in order to give the correct development. State attorneys declared that Michigan voters wanted traditional marriages to be upheld in their state. At the beginning of the trial, ministers who claimed to represent over 1,000 churches from across the entire state uttered concern that the federal court would undercut the “sanctity of marriage”.
In the judge’s ruling, he sacked most of what was called “expert” testimony that was given on the state’s behalf. He said it was mainly unbelievable. He also stated that people having “moral disapproval” was not enough to validate the law. Experts that testified in favor of the couple stated that children who had gay parents turned out just the same as kids who had opposite-sex parents. They contended that stopping same-sex couples from marrying destroyed the entire reason of marriage as it connected to the well-being of the kids. If one of the women were to die, then the children would have to go back into Michigan state custody instead of to the other female, the judge noted.
Gay rights advocates state that the victory in Michigan as being yet another sign of increasing support for same-sex marriage. The judge determined in his ruling that he hoped all the children of same-sex couples would grow with special respect for their families and realize they are not any different than any other family that exists inside the community.
The Michigan lesbian couple who have been together for eight years have the right to get married, ruled a federal judge, defining that Michigan’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. By striking down the prohibition, United States Federal Judge Bernard Friedman has become the ninth judge to go against state gay marriage bans in consecutive cases. Since December of 2013, judges in Utah, Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma have ruled that bans on gay marriages are unlawful and those rulings are becoming more common all over the United States.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Miami Herald