Federal Judge Rules Gay Michigan Couple Can Proceed with Challenge to State’s Marriage Ban

Back in September I posted about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, who expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment. In March I reported that Federal Judge Bernard Friedman stayed his decision in the matter until after the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA.

LmcOn Monday, Friedman ruled that the couple can proceed with their challenge, Buzzfeed reports:

In reaching the decision, Judge Bernard Friedman cited last week’s opinion striking down the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act, writing of April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse’s challenge to Michigan’s amendment, “The United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor … has provided the requisite precedential fodder for both parties to this litigation.”

On the state side, Friedman noted, “Defendants [including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder] will no doubt cite to the relevant paragraphs of the majority opinion espousing the state’s ‘historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,’” presumably as a support for the state’s right to define marriage for itself.


  1. Just Do It says

    This is great! It’s only going to take one to get overturned then the rest of the states will fall like dominoes!

  2. JONES says

    @Just Do It
    It is fantastic however falling like dominoes is not that easy.*
    BUT the important thing is that a Federal Judge is citing SCOTUS ruling on DOMA as ‘providing the requisite precedential fodder’ to challenge the ban on SSM in Michigan. This case has already been heard so expect Judge Friedman’s ruling any day. Two other cases in Michigan yesterday, one concerning domestic partnerships and another on outlawing SS partner health benefits both from Judge Lawson who also cited DOMA for precedent.

    *If/When successful in this court it could be appealed (by Michigan officials with standing) to the Sixth District Court. If successful there could be challenged to SCOTUS.
    Sixth Distric court covers four states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky & Tennessee and a favorable ruling at Sixth could be deemed applicable to these four states.

  3. Happy To Oblige says

    Dear Mr Pissiepants Jones:

    Falling like dominoes is exactly how it will happen.

    Thank you for you vaunted input,


    Just Do It

  4. Just Do It says

    Had a copy/paste snippet in my clipboard…so that post above is indeed from Just Do It

  5. Michigander says

    I think he was just pointing out that unless the case goes to the Supreme Court, it doesn’t legally effect the other states.

    Does anyone know when the oral arguments will take place, or where we can find that out?

  6. Kevin says

    If it doesn’t go to the Supreme Court,it would only apply to either MI or the four states it covers.
    If he makes a favorable ruling though.

  7. JONES says

    @Just Do It

    Here’s a little bit more of that vaunted input for you.
    Spend some time actually comprehending what you read. Learn to differentiate between an ally and an enemy.

    Mr Pissiepants? Seriously? In a forum discussing civil rights.
    How old are you?

  8. Just Do It says


    I’m not surprised that someone on Towleroad would find something to biatch about or generally be a Mr. Pissiepants. The shoe fits. Wear it. You’re in good company. There’s a lot of your type around here.

  9. JONES says

    @Just Do It
    Again, comprehension? Nobody was bitching about anything in this thread but you. What part set you off ‘fantastic’ or the course this case has to take to SCOTUS? When honest discussion or someone offering a subjective point of view on a subject like a civil rights court case sends you into schoolyard insults then it’s time to realize that you have issues. Own that and use it to grow up.

  10. Just Do It says


    I see your mouth moving but all I hear is waa waa waa waa waa. You and the rest of the Towleroad pissiepants who always seem to find something to whine and complain about can eat me.

  11. Just Do It says


    Well when you’re done launching sky rockets out of your butt your next goal can be trying not to be so pedantic.

  12. JONES says

    @Just Do It
    So ‘pissiepants’ was really about the details of how long the DeBoer court case might take? ‘Not as easy as falling like dominoes’ put a damper on your enthusiasm? Trouble with comment boards is you never know who is going to take offense when none is intended.
    Jus sos you know, If I could make it so I’d have DeBoer decided favorably tomorrow. Along with the 36 other states that have some form of anti equality legislation. Faster than dominoes even.

    But you do of course by now realize that this trial to conclusion is going to take a while, right?