The trial of a challenge to Michigan's
ban on gay marriage opened this week in downtown Detroit and is
expected to last until next Thursday.
Plaintiffs in the case are a lesbian
couple looking to jointly adopt their three foster children –
Nolan, 4, Jacob, 3, and Ryanne, 3 – but who cannot because of the
state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples.
At the suggestion of U.S. District
Judge Bernard Friedman, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park
amended their lawsuit to also challenge the state's marriage ban.
According to MLive.com,
attorneys representing the plaintiffs have called five expert
witnesses to the stand.
On Friday, Nancy Cott, a Harvard
professor with expertise in the history of marriage, testified that
neither procreation nor gender roles are a requirement for marriage.
“Nobody applying for a marriage
license has ever been asked what roles the two parties will take on,”
“Inability to have a child has never
been grounds for divorce in any state,” she later said.
Marriage in contemporary America, Cott
testified, is “about mutual support in an emotional way as well as
in an economic way. … So that the relationship of marriage to
gender has been on a historical trajectory toward a kind of
Witnesses for the state will take the
stand on Monday, including Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of
sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, who has been widely
criticized for concluding in a 2012 study funded by a conservative
think tank that children are negatively affected by having gay
Regnerus: Gay marriage will embolden straight men to demand open