Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Case Scheduled for Hearing
Earlier this year, United States District Court Judge Bernard Friedman held in abeyance the case challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage until SCOTUS decided the United States v Windsor case in June. Now, in the wake of Windsor -which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act banning federal benefits to gay couples- a hearing has been scheduled for mid-October in the Michigan case.
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple from Hazel Park, filed the federal law suit because Michigan law prevents them from adopting each other's children. The Michigan Attorney General is opposing the suit, asserting the couple's claim merely seeks to avert a valid Michigan law: the 2004 constitutional amendment defining a legal marriage as solely between a man and woman.
This case has been attracting much attention with Judge Friedman allowing several groups to file briefs in the case. The Michigan Catholic Conference, on one side, asserts that the 2004 Marriage Amendment advances a valid state interest: the preservation and proliferation of family life through traditional marriage. On the other side, a group of law professors at the Cooley Law School, along with other constitutional law scholars from across the country, assert that Michigan's Marriage Amendment should be subjected to a "heightened scrutiny" on the basis the amendment does not advance a legitimate state interest.
Whatever Judge Friedman does in this case, his decision will be appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati and then on to the SCOTUS, with perhaps a post-Windsor companion case or two. We here at the Law Blogger knew that it would not be long before Michigan joined in the fray of what has become the civil rights issue of our time.