DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by two women challenging Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and joint adoptions by same-sex couples.
In a five-page ruling Monday, Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman told both sides to appear for a status hearing on July 10.
Co-Counsel Dana Nessel represents Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, who want to jointly adopt three children who they’ve raised since birth.
Nessel said her clients are pleased that their case can go forward.
“The judge has indicated quite clearly that our clients have presented a legitimate legal claim, and … as Judge Friedman specifically indicated in his opinion the plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court, and they shall have it,” Nessel said.
The women are nurses who live together with three children in Hazel Park, a Detroit suburb. DeBoer has adopted two children, and Rowse has one. In each case, the biological parents were unable to care for the kids.
DeBoer said legal recognition would mean total security.
“It would mean being able to raise our kids knowing that nobody can ever interfere; nobody could ever take our children away from each other if something happened to one of us … because, at this point in time, if something did happen our kids could be separated,” DeBoer said.
Friedman said last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision probably will be cited by the plaintiffs as well as state attorneys who are defending Michigan’s 2004 ban on gay marriage. He wants to discuss a trial date.
The Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law barring government benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married. But the court also says states have power to define marriage.
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