- Posted March 7, 2013 by
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Michigan Same-Gender Marriage Ban Ruling on Ice
In a case in federal court in Michigan that has not had much media attention, a ruling over the constitutionality of Michigan's ban on same-gender marriage was expected to be handed down today. Indications were that the federal judge hearing the case may have been leaning toward ruling against the state.
However, the judge decided to hold off on rendering his judgment until the US Supreme Court releases its findings in two related cases slated to be debated later this month over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, which rescinded the right to marry from same-gender couples in California.
The issue in the Michigan case began as a lesbian couple, who have adopted three special needs children as individuals, with one adopting two children and the other one child since they could not adopt as a same-gender couple. The Wolverine State does not allow same-gender couples the right to adopt.
The couple were worried what would happen to the children if one of the partners died. The law does not allow for the surving spouse to become the de facto parent or guardian. The child or children would instead be taken from the only home and parent that had been in their lives and placed into state care.
The conservative federal judge, Bernard Friedman, had asked the couple, April Deboer and Jayne Rowse, when the case came before himif they wanted to amend their petition to include a ruling on the constitutionality of Michigan's 9-year-old same-gender ban. The couple were only concerned with the fate of their children, but did take the judge up on his suggestion.
It was expected that the judge would rule today. That did not occur. The judge noted that he was going to hold off on his decision until the Supreme Court ruled on the merits in the DOMA case and Prop 8 case. The judge noted that how the Supreme Court came down in its rulings could impact or change the direction of his decision.
From the Cornfield, although the case has been put on ice until probably at least June when the Supreme Court releases its decisions, I do believe the judge made the correct move in waiting to see what guidance the high court would offer in making his ruling.
It is a slow process, but I do believe that step-by-step the nation is moving ever closer to providing full equality to all its citizens.
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