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Fall Showdown In Court On Mich. Gay Marriage Ban

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Jayne Rowse and her partner April DeBoer -- the Detroit-area nurses who filed a lawsuit to try to overturn restrictions on adoption by same-sex partners. (WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey)

Jayne Rowse and her partner April DeBoer — the Detroit-area nurses who filed a lawsuit to try to overturn restrictions on adoption by same-sex partners. (WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge says he’ll hear arguments Oct. 1 on the legality of Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.

Judge Bernard Friedman set the date Wednesday in what could be a ground-breaking lawsuit filed by two Detroit-area nurses who are lesbians.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer— both nurses— and three adopted children live under one roof in Hazel Park.

The three adopted children. (Facebook photo, used with permission)

The three adopted children. (Facebook photo, used with permission)

DeBoer has adopted two children, and Rowse has one — but Michigan law bars the women from jointly adopting each other’s kids. In each case, the biological parents were unable to care for the kids. The women have raised all three since birth.

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 told WWJ in an interview.

At the judge’s suggestion, the lawsuit was expanded last year to also challenge a 2004 constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage in Michigan as only between a man and a woman. Rowse and DeBoer say the amendment and the adoption law violate their rights.

Friedman recently turned down the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

The couple’s attorney Dana Nessel says numerous studies show children of same-sex parents do not turn out any differently than those raised by heterosexual couples.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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