Definition of marriage and family in Michigan at center of gay couple's lawsuit against state

Detroit (WXYZ) - A trial underway in Federal Court in Detroit could change the definition of marriage and family in Michigan.

Carole Stanyar, one of several attorneys representing April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, described the lesbian couple as “heroes” for fighting the state’s gay marriage ban.

“To be still classed (sic) as the second class citizen in Michigan is very disappointing because we love our kids more than anything else and we really want the same protections for them that every other family has,” Rowse said after the first day of testimony in the case.

DeBoer and Rowse, from Hazel Park, are both nurses.  They have adopted three children between them.  The state’s adoption code does not allow same-sex couples to adopt each other’s children.

Their initial lawsuit against the state, filed in January 2012, was later amended to include a challenge against Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

“We’re proud we’re making history and we’re proud to be the face of marriage equality but when you scrape it down to the bottom line, this is about our kids and our kid’s equality,” DeBoer said.

Scientific studies and the testimony of experts were debated in Judge Bernard Friedman’s courtroom.

David Brodzinski, a psychologist and child-development expert and Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, both testified that research shows that progress for adopted children of same-sex couples is not disadvantaged when backgrounds are similar.

Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed by 59 percent. Four years later, the state supreme court upheld the amendment.

Dozens of supporters of traditional marriage were outside the court building early Tuesday morning and many of them were still carrying their signs as testimony ended around 5 p.m.

“The state of Michigan’s already spoken on this issue, the people, the public has spoken and God has spoken, “ Rex Evans told reporters.  Evans represented Free Will Baptist church in Ypsilanti and served as a spokesperson for the protestors.





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