April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are seeking to jointly adopt children and are challenging Michigan's gay marriage ban. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman deferred a ruling on the case, pending the outcomes of an upcoming Supreme Court case on gay marriage and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), says March 7 news story.
DeBoer and Rowse are in a committed relationship and are parenting three adopted children. DeBoer has an adopted daughter and Rowse had two adopted sons. While they equally parent the three children and are raising them as siblings, neither woman has legal rights for all three children. Michigan law prohibits both gay marriage and joint adoption by unmarried gay couples. Should something happen to one of the women, the other wouldn't be legally recognized as a parent of the affected child. As such, DeBoer and Rowse are seeking the right to adopt each other's children.
Judge Friedman justified his decision to defer a ruling on the case by acknowledging the potential benefits he will receive from the outcome of the Supreme Court and DOMA cases. Both of those cases will be argued later this month.
DeBoer, Rowse and gay marriage advocates across the country are eager to hear Friedman's ruling. Experts suggest that the outcome of these three cases could mark a turning point in the nation's ongoing debate about gay marriage.