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Michigan: Federal judge to hear challenge to state’s gay marriage ban

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First there was Utah, then Oklahoma and next in line could be Michigan as the next state to strike down state bans on gay marriage in 2014. According to a report by the Associated Press on Jan. 16, a federal judge is considering a challenge to the 2004 amendment to the Michigan constitution that currently bans same-sex marriages in the state.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman will be acting on a lawsuit filed by Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer back in 2012. The lesbian couple, who are raising three adopted children, seek to get married. There main challenge against the ban is that is prohibits same-sex partners from adopting each other’s children and there are other benefits the couple would benefit from.

By challenging the ban as suggested by Friedman, other laws would fall also if overturned. Friedman also stated back in October that he needed to hear experts in February before determining the probably challenge for the Michigan Constitution’s clause that currently defines marriage as being only between a man and a woman, an amendment approved by 59 percent of Michigan voters back in 2004.

Attorney Dana Nessel, one of the attorneys representing Rowse and DeBoer in the case, hopes for a ruling in favor of the couple that will also benefit same-sex marriage in the state of Michigan. According to Nessel, Michigan’s ban is one of the more strict bans in the nation because “it also prohibits domestic partnerships or civil unions” thus limiting gay couples in the state from achieving any kind of “legal recognition of their relationships.”

A favorable ruling would further inspire states throughout the country that are challenge state bans on same-sex marriage.