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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Same-Sex Adoption Couple Has Oakland Family Court Ties

Judge Lisa Gorcyca
November 25 is recognized in Michigan and Oakland County as Adoption Day. Accordingly, there were events scheduled to commemorate the event in the Oakland County Family Court, including a visit by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra, who presented a resolution of the Michigan Supreme Court officially recognizing Adoption Day in Oakland County.

Oakland County Family Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca presided over the event, and then performed an adoption for April DeBoer, who adopted her third child.  Ms. DeBoer is one-half of the same-sex couple that have garnered headlines for challenging Michigan's adoption law, which disallows adoptions by same-sex couples.

This blog has followed the same-sex couple's federal case, now heading to the SCOTUS, as it has wound its way through the federal court system  -starting in Detroit, then Cincinnati, and now Washington, D.C.-  picking-up lots of public interest along the way.   Currently, their case is getting briefed right here in Oakland County and oral arguments likely will be scheduled before the Supreme Court for late spring or early fall.

In granting the adoption, Judge Gorcyca, looking beyond the politics of DeBoer's case, said, "I've had a chance to follow the love you feel for your entire family.  If they prevail in their adoption case, Ms. DeBoer and her partner, Jayne Rowse, will be able to jointly adopt the four adopted children living in their Hazel Park home.  Presently, the couple must adopt the children independent of one another.

Even the couple's opponent in their high-profile case, the Michigan Attorney General, has acknowledged that DeBoer and Rowse are excellent  parents.  As noted by Ms. DeBoer at her recent adoption proceeding, she feels the love and acceptance in Judge Gorcyca's courtroom, but when she walks out the door, she is jarred by the reality that she, her partner and their adopted children are not recognized as a legal family.

We here at the Law Blogger hope that will change soon. Should the change come from our Legislature, or from the High Court; that is the real question.

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Blogger Joe Baublis said...

More information about the kids? What were their situations prior to adoption? And what statute is Schuette enforcing to obstruct the adoption?

December 23, 2014 at 10:04 AM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

We're not privy to the circumstances surrounding the four adoptions made by the DeBoer/Rowse domestic partnership; all we know if that this couple has combined for 4 adoptions. Adoption is controlled by a statute; that statute prohibits same-sex couples from adopting. Individuals may adopt, and married couples may adopt. This is in accord with Michigan's constitutional amendment that defines a married couple as being a man and a woman. This couple seeks to be treated equally under the law. As you may know, state laws that classify individuals by their sexual preference have been successfully challenged in federal court; the question is now before the United States Supreme Court. At this blog, we view it as the civil rights issue of our day.

December 24, 2014 at 6:21 AM 

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