Adoption case judge tells couple challenge same sex marriage ban - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Adoption case judge tells Michigan couple challenge same sex marriage ban

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Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer outside of federal court  (Credit: MyFox Detroit) Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer outside of federal court (Credit: MyFox Detroit)

By AMY LANGE
MyFox Detroit Reporter

DETROIT (MyFox Detroit)
-- A same sex couple from Hazel Park filed suit against the governor and state attorney general because they can't jointly adopt.  Wednesday, a federal judge suggested they instead challenge the state's definition of marriage.

"I just want my kids to have the same rights as everybody else's family.  They deserve those rights," said April DeBoer.

DeBoer and her partner, Jayne Rowse, have been fighting for their kids all their lives.  They are both nurses who fostered and adopted three special needs children, who are now thriving.

DeBoer and Rowse were certified by the state as a couple to foster the children, but the state only allowed them to adopt them as individuals.  They want the right to jointly adopt.  They want their children to have two legal parents.

"The kids deserve protection that every other child deserves," said Rowse.

So the women are suing the governor and the state attorney general because of Michigan's restriction on joint adoptions by people who are not allowed to marry.  However, attorneys with the state called the efforts by the plaintiffs an end run around the state law.

In the end, that's exactly what federal Judge Bernard Friedman suggested they do, challenge the state's definition of marriage.  That's really the underlying issue, he told them.  It would be the first challenge to Michigan's law banning same sex marriage, and this couple might be the one to take it on.

"We're going to look at all of our options, talk this over and really do the rational thing that we decide is right for everyone," Rowse said.

"It makes it a broader issue with a much broader class of people being affected," said attorney Carole Stanyar.

"It would resolve this matter altogether if the ban on same sex marriage in Michigan was found to be unconstitutional," said attorney Dana Nessel.

"You're talking about bringing my children into even more than they've already been through, and I'm not sure we're ready to do that," said DeBoer.

Judge Friedman has given them ten days to amend their complaint.  That's just a short time for them to decide whether or not they're going to take on the ban on same sex marriage in Michigan.

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