As news today came that U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman had found Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, it brought with it the end of a two-year legal battle for Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer. The ruling was the culmination of a lawsuit that originally began as an attempt to overturn Michigan’s ban on joint adoptions by same-sex couples.
The couple, both nurses, have three adopted children — all with special needs — but have been unable to jointly adopt each other’s children as joint adoption is only permitted for married couples. Neither Rowse nor DeBoer testified in the trial, but their legitimacy as parents was challenged in the court proceedings as part of the state’s defense of the same-sex marriage ban.
“State defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people,” Friedman ruled. “No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples.”
Rowse and DeBoer, along with their attorney Dana Nessel, were joined by several local stations as the decision was announced. WXYZ, a local ABC affiliate, captured the overjoyed reaction of the couple as Nessel confirmed that the ban on marriage had been lifted. Watch Rowse and DeBoer’s emotional response to the news below.
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