A federal judge on Friday struck down
Michigan's ban on gay marriage following a two-week trial that ended
on March 7.
“After reviewing the evidence
presented at the trial, including the testimony of various expert
witnesses, the exhibits, and stipulations, and after considering all
of the legal issues involved, the Court concludes that the MMA
[Michigan Marriage Amendment] is unconstitutional and will enjoin its
enforcement,” U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman wrote in his
Friedman said that the ban violated the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.
Plaintiff couple Jayne Rowse and April
DeBoer challenged the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional
amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The women are
raising three adopted children they were forced to adopt individually
because state law only allows married couples to adopt jointly.
In defending the ban, the state argued
that it was necessary to protect children.
“This is about … what's best for
the children of the state of Michigan,” Kristin Heyse, an attorney
for the state, said in her closing arguments.
Witnesses for the state included
Canadian economist Douglas Allen, who claimed that children raised by
gay parents are more likely to have difficulties in school, and Mark
Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of
Texas at Austin, who testified that the state “should be skeptical”
of gay couples raising children.
in Michigan gay marriage trial claims gays going to hell.)
Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued
that gay couples make good parents.
“The witnesses are at the top of
their fields,” Ken Mogill said. “They all know what they are
talking about and don't try to put a spin on it.”
Federal judges in recent months have
knocked down all or part of similar bans in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas.