U.S. District Court Judge Bernard
Friedman is expected to hand down a ruling, as early as Wednesday, on
whether Michigan's gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution.
April DeBoer, 42, and her parter Jayne
Rowse, 48, of Hazel Park filed a challenge to the state's law
limiting joint adoptions to married couples. The women are seeking
to adopt their three foster children – Nolan, 4, Jacob, 3, and
Ryanne, 3 – but cannot do so because of the state's 2004
voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to
At the suggestion of Friedman, the
women amended their lawsuit to also challenge the state's marriage
In March, Friedman said that he would
wait to see how the Supreme Court ruled in two cases related to
same-sex marriage before deciding whether to grant the state's
request to dismiss the lawsuit.
Friedman noted the high court's
opinions in ruling that the case could proceed: “That is exactly
the type of harm plaintiffs seek to remedy in this case.”
Michigan State Attorney General Bill
Schuette is defending the state's law.
“The United States Supreme Court has
ruled that states retain the constitutional authority to define
marriage,” Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Schuette, told The
Detroit Free Press. “We will continue to defend the
Michigan Constitution in this case.”
Friedman could hand down his ruling
from the bench on Wednesday. Schuette's office would likely respond
to an order overturning the marriage ban with a request for a stay
while the state files an appeal. If Friedman declines the request,
gay couples would be allowed to marry while the case proceeds.