Michigan same-sex marriage ban struck down

Michigan becomes the 18th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:32 PM
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A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, striking down the measure approved by the state's voters in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman sided with two lesbian nurses who sued the state to be allowed to marry and adopt each other's children, ruling that the state had no "rational basis" for denying them the right.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately filed a request for an emergency stay of the ruling, which Friedman did not grant.

“In 2004 the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable," Schutte said. "Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our State constitution, and their will should stand and be respected. I will continue to carry out my duty to protect and defend the Constitution.”

Unlike a number of other similar court decisions in the months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Friedman opted to hold a trial, allowing both sides to present their case.

The nurses, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, are raising three special needs children together and wish to marry and adopt them. They filed their lawsuit against the state in 2012.

Experts for the state claimed studies show children raised in same-sex marriage households have poorer outcomes, while studies presented by the plaintiffs find the opposite.

And while the state argued the will of the people of Michigan -- the 2004 ban -- should determine the law, the 2014 State of the State survey from the University of Michigan shows attitudes have changed in the past decade.

According to the survey, 59 percent of Michigan adults say they are now in favor of allowing adoption by gays and lesbians, compared to 33 percent against.

DeBoer v. Snyder

[Detroit Free Press] [Detroit News]

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