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Michigan’s Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down by Federal Judge

An advocate of traditional marriage protests in front of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Detroit. A gay couple from Michigan sued to have Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and gay adoption overturned. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Michigan’s 10-year-old ban on gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional, a federal judge determined today.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling said the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette promptly filed an emergency request seeking to set aside Friedman’s ruling. Michigan law currently defines a marriage as the union between one man and one woman

The Detroit-based federal judge’s ruling struck down Article 1 Section 25 of the Michigan Constitution, also known as the Marriage Amendment. The amendment was approved by Michigan voters in 2004, and bans gay marriages.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer filed suit in federal court seeking to have Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and gay adoption overturned. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
The plaintiffs in the case, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, are a gay couple who filed suit in an attempt to have Michigan’s ban on gay marriage and gay adoption overturned.

“In 2004 the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable,” Schuette said. “Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our state constitution, and their will should stand and be respected.”

Friedman’s ruling came after a two-week trial to evaluate voters’ decision to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He said the ban is a violation of civil rights, and with the law’s potential reversal Michigan is poised to become the 18th state to legalize gay marriage.

Schuette’s emergency request for stay and appeal were filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati.

Schuette has issued a notice to clerks that no action should be taken — including issuing marriage licenses — until “the matter reaches final disposition on appeal.”

He vows to continue to uphold the law.

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