Legal challenge to Michigan's ban on gay marriage will be heard in October

Jul 11, 2013

A federal judge in Detroit has set an October 1 hearing date for a legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and adoptions by same-sex couples. April DeBoer says the ban violates the civil rights of the three children she and her partner are raising together.

Judge Bernard Friedman wants to hear how attorneys for the state and for the couple -- DeBoer and Jayne Rouse -- think the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act affects this case.

DeBoer says she and her partner are ready to take their case all the way to the high court, and if they lose, they will leave the state.

“I think in my heart, we promised the birth mothers of our children that we would protect our children no matter, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” DeBoer said. “And if we can’t get equal protection in the state of Michigan, then we need to fulfill that promise and move somewhere where we can protect our kids.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he is defending the Michigan Constitution and the state’s right to set its own rules defining marriage. The same-sex marriage ban in the state constitution was approved by voters nine years ago. Back then, 59% of voters supported the ban.

But as Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton reported, a poll released by the Glengariff Group this May showed that nearly 57% of Michiganders now support same-sex marriage.