Federal Judge Could Overturn Michigan's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage This Thursday:

There are 20 comments on the www.towleroad.com story from Mar 4, 2013, titled Federal Judge Could Overturn Michigan's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage This Thursday: . In it, www.towleroad.com reports that:

Back in September I posted about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, who expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.towleroad.com.

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Since: Jan 12

Port Richey, FL

#1 Mar 5, 2013
almost if not all states have a right for the pursuit of haplessness in there states constitution, under that clause marriage equality can be challenged. what I don't understand is why the civil liberty's union, southern poverty law firm, or the human rights campaign. isn't taking these cases to court on a broader scale

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#2 Mar 5, 2013
disaster in the making wrote:
almost if not all states have a right for the pursuit of haplessness in there states constitution, under that clause marriage equality can be challenged. what I don't understand is why the civil liberty's union, southern poverty law firm, or the human rights campaign. isn't taking these cases to court on a broader scale
The existing federal precedent is that the right to marry simply doesn't extend to marrying someone of the same sex. It has been a pretty insurmountable obstacle since the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling called Baker v Nelson back in 1973. In most cases it precludes the Courts from even hearing a challenge to a state's law against same sex marriages. in the last few months, attempts to overturn bans in Nevada and Hawaii have fallen victim to it. if your only gripe is that the state won't give you license to marry someone of the same sex, too bad, you simply don't have a constitutional claim.

What makes this case different is that the ban on same sex marriage is standing in the way of an adoption, not a marriage. When the couple went to court, they were asking for the right to adopt as parties in an unmarried couple, something not allowed under Michigan law. The problem they face on the federal level is that there is no right to adopt, period. It is a matter that is pretty much entirely in the hands of the state. The Judge here was about to dismiss the case when the idea came up that if these two women were married, there would be no need for the second parent adoption, they could adopt as a couple. And lo a non-similarly situated challenge to Baker is born.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#3 Mar 5, 2013
They changed the venue for the case based on the public's interest in the case, which is great. BUT....

How come I live 45 minutes away from Wayne State University and we've heard basically *nothing* about this case?? Neither in local nor national news. So frustrating....

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#4 Mar 5, 2013
eJohn wrote:
They changed the venue for the case based on the public's interest in the case, which is great. BUT....
How come I live 45 minutes away from Wayne State University and we've heard basically *nothing* about this case?? Neither in local nor national news. So frustrating....
I know that there was an article up here when the Judge essentially turned this into a challenge to the ban on same sex marriage back in January, but the story really didn't gain much traction. I was surprised by this myself, I hadn't seen anything on the story since.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#5 Mar 5, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>I know that there was an article up here when the Judge essentially turned this into a challenge to the ban on same sex marriage back in January, but the story really didn't gain much traction. I was surprised by this myself, I hadn't seen anything on the story since.
That article that was posted here a while back is the only placed I've heard anything about this, too. I kinda think that's a good thing, considering that keeping it somewhat low profile has apparently kept the hate-mongers from panicking and screaming and running in circles flailing their arms about over it.

But I suspect that if this judge DOES do the right thing and throw out Michigan's marriage ban, he'll also stay his order to give time for the hate-mongers to do all their panicking and screaming and running in circles flailing their arms about.

Interesting....

Since: Jan 12

Port Richey, FL

#6 Mar 5, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>The existing federal precedent is that the right to marry simply doesn't extend to marrying someone of the same sex. It has been a pretty insurmountable obstacle since the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling called Baker v Nelson back in 1973. In most cases it precludes the Courts from even hearing a challenge to a state's law against same sex marriages. in the last few months, attempts to overturn bans in Nevada and Hawaii have fallen victim to it. if your only gripe is that the state won't give you license to marry someone of the same sex, too bad, you simply don't have a constitutional claim.
What makes this case different is that the ban on same sex marriage is standing in the way of an adoption, not a marriage. When the couple went to court, they were asking for the right to adopt as parties in an unmarried couple, something not allowed under Michigan law. The problem they face on the federal level is that there is no right to adopt, period. It is a matter that is pretty much entirely in the hands of the state. The Judge here was about to dismiss the case when the idea came up that if these two women were married, there would be no need for the second parent adoption, they could adopt as a couple. And lo a non-similarly situated challenge to Baker is born.
so are you saying only heterosexuals have the right to pursue happiness

“Greetings!”

Since: Dec 06

Tampa, FL

#8 Mar 5, 2013
The only problem here is that IF the judge DOES find for the couple and ALSO deems the law unconstitutional, the State will ask for a STAY (and in fact, the judge may put a STAY in place pending the SCOTUS ruling later in the year).
A hollow victory if it happens.
And, to the point about "press coverage" of the case...i'm actually GLAD because if the motion hearing is going to happen THIS month, this helps reduce the amount of "outside pressure" that can be applied to the judge.
I'm crossing my fingers given what i've read.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#9 Mar 5, 2013
TampaBob wrote:
The only problem here is that IF the judge DOES find for the couple and ALSO deems the law unconstitutional, the State will ask for a STAY (and in fact, the judge may put a STAY in place pending the SCOTUS ruling later in the year).
A hollow victory if it happens.
And, to the point about "press coverage" of the case...i'm actually GLAD because if the motion hearing is going to happen THIS month, this helps reduce the amount of "outside pressure" that can be applied to the judge.
I'm crossing my fingers given what i've read.
I wouldn't call it a hollow victory if the judge stays the order. And I can't imagine he wouldn't, considering the panicking and screaming that will undoubtedly follow such a ruling. A victory is a victory. And I would LOVE to have it, even stayed.

What will be most interesting, I think, is what the reaction from the hate-mongers WILL be should such a ruling come down. What will they do? How will they react to it in the current climate where it's more and more clear every day that marriage equality is coming, no matter what they think or do. Will they pour millions into another effort to stave off the inevitable? Or will there be a feeble attempt at kicking and crying and then off to demonize the next group they can rake in millions by demonizing?
Meanie

Dearborn, MI

#10 Mar 5, 2013
Happy Anniversary 1913 wrote:
<quoted text>
We are all heterosexuals. It's just that some people engage in or do disgusting things more so than the other and expect to be accommodated for their perversion, vice, and excess.
Stupid monkies.
Ladies and Germs, I bestow upon you above, ignorance at it's best.

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#11 Mar 5, 2013
eJohn wrote:
<quoted text>
That article that was posted here a while back is the only placed I've heard anything about this, too. I kinda think that's a good thing, considering that keeping it somewhat low profile has apparently kept the hate-mongers from panicking and screaming and running in circles flailing their arms about over it.
But I suspect that if this judge DOES do the right thing and throw out Michigan's marriage ban, he'll also stay his order to give time for the hate-mongers to do all their panicking and screaming and running in circles flailing their arms about.
Interesting....
I remember the original story about the judge telling them to refile their case, but I had no idea it had gone this far until this popped up on the news wire. Given that this merely a motion within the case of their adoption, if he does overturn the law, he may not stay his order unless the state appeals.

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#12 Mar 5, 2013
disaster in the making wrote:
so are you saying only heterosexuals have the right to pursue happiness
Well, if your idea of happiness is marriage and adopting a kid or two, then for the moment anyways, that is strictly a heterosexuals only option in Michigan.

Since: Jan 12

Port Richey, FL

#13 Mar 6, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>Well, if your idea of happiness is marriage and adopting a kid or two, then for the moment anyways, that is strictly a heterosexuals only option in Michigan.
at my age it would more financial security, but marriage has been referred to as the happiest moment in one's life?

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#14 Mar 6, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>I remember the original story about the judge telling them to refile their case, but I had no idea it had gone this far until this popped up on the news wire. Given that this merely a motion within the case of their adoption, if he does overturn the law, he may not stay his order unless the state appeals.
I don't quite get the legal aspects of what's going on here. Are you thinking that if the DOMA law is thrown out in Michigan as part of a case challenging adoption laws, not marriage laws, it might be somehow different than a case strictly challenging marriage laws?

I don't get the difference. Certainly the screaming and panicking among the stupid would be the same, regardless of how or why their hate-based law is thrown out. What am I missing?
Al Bundy

Dallas, TX

#15 Mar 6, 2013
disaster in the making wrote:
<quoted text>
at my age it would more financial security, but marriage has been referred to as the happiest moment in one's life?
My people. Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth. As you know I played highschool football. I was great. And you kids out there would like to be just as great as I was. But beware: there is a killer out there, a temptation. It will use up your money and your will to live. I know you've heard about it before, but you can't hear about it enough. Kids, please just say no to marriage!

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#16 Mar 6, 2013
eJohn wrote:
I don't quite get the legal aspects of what's going on here. Are you thinking that if the DOMA law is thrown out in Michigan as part of a case challenging adoption laws, not marriage laws, it might be somehow different than a case strictly challenging marriage laws?
I don't get the difference. Certainly the screaming and panicking among the stupid would be the same, regardless of how or why their hate-based law is thrown out. What am I missing?
Under common law, cases that serve as precedent can only be applied in situations which are largely similar. In the case of Baker v Nelson, if you have walked into a Clerk's office to obtain a marriage license to someone of your same sex in a state that don't allow it, you are sh*t out of luck. DeBoer and Rowse were attempting to adopt as a couple, the ban on same sex marriages becomes only a collateral issue to that one. If their right to marry is somehow being unconstitutionally denied, then that would reopen the question of their equal protection in regards to that adoption are suddenly reopened.

This couple came into Court with a whole bunch of precedents against them, there is no right to become an adoptive parent under the Constitution, that has been ruled on often, there is however a right to equal protection under the adoption laws that exist. Whether the laws are concerning single, second parent or joint adoption, the laws may not discriminate on the basis of a suspect classification. Something that the gay folk don't currently have. The way around all those precedents against their adopting as a couple is by going through the ban on same sex marriages. If DeBoer and Rowse get married and the state still denies a joint adoption, their case springs back to life.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#17 Mar 6, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>Under common law, cases that serve as precedent can only be applied in situations which are largely similar. In the case of Baker v Nelson, if you have walked into a Clerk's office to obtain a marriage license to someone of your same sex in a state that don't allow it, you are sh*t out of luck. DeBoer and Rowse were attempting to adopt as a couple, the ban on same sex marriages becomes only a collateral issue to that one. If their right to marry is somehow being unconstitutionally denied, then that would reopen the question of their equal protection in regards to that adoption are suddenly reopened.
This couple came into Court with a whole bunch of precedents against them, there is no right to become an adoptive parent under the Constitution, that has been ruled on often, there is however a right to equal protection under the adoption laws that exist. Whether the laws are concerning single, second parent or joint adoption, the laws may not discriminate on the basis of a suspect classification. Something that the gay folk don't currently have. The way around all those precedents against their adopting as a couple is by going through the ban on same sex marriages. If DeBoer and Rowse get married and the state still denies a joint adoption, their case springs back to life.
Thanks! Maybe I'm over-simplifying (or over-complicating) this in my head, but I still don't see why this case is any different than any other case about equal treatment.

It sounds like the State is declaring that they ARE being treated exactly the same as any other unmarried couple wishing to adopt under Michigan's 12th Century adoption laws. They're not married, so they cannot jointly adopt. That's the law. Period. End of story.

The fact that they are also banned by Michigan law FROM marrying seems to me to be irrelevant to this case. It seems that the law banning unmarried couples from jointly adopting is, on its face, unconstitutional because it also would require a straight couple that's not currently married (and who has chosen to not marry for whatever reason) to legally marry in order to adopt. That strikes me as wrong (and irrelevant to the case) as the reverse, banning same-sex couples from marrying.

So why can't the judge simply declare that Michigan's law against unmarried couples jointly adopting violates equal protection and throw out that law? Then DeBoer and Rowse's case would be resolved because that barrier to adoption would be removed, and that IS the basis of their case, isn't it? The desire to jointly adopt.

Obviously, the fact that they are banned from marrying is the reason they're not married, but that still seems to be a separate issue in this case. Is it because they would marry if they could and are in the middle of a catch-22 that the marriage ban is an issue?

I'm sorry if I'm seeming dense here. I've usually really good at understanding legal issues, but this one just seems to be escaping me. I got straight A's in all my business and contract law classes in college, but this one just isn't clicking.

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#18 Mar 6, 2013
eJohn wrote:
<quoted text>
Thanks! Maybe I'm over-simplifying (or over-complicating) this in my head, but I still don't see why this case is any different than any other case about equal treatment.
It sounds like the State is declaring that they ARE being treated exactly the same as any other unmarried couple wishing to adopt under Michigan's 12th Century adoption laws. They're not married, so they cannot jointly adopt. That's the law. Period. End of story.
The fact that they are also banned by Michigan law FROM marrying seems to me to be irrelevant to this case. It seems that the law banning unmarried couples from jointly adopting is, on its face, unconstitutional because it also would require a straight couple that's not currently married (and who has chosen to not marry for whatever reason) to legally marry in order to adopt. That strikes me as wrong (and irrelevant to the case) as the reverse, banning same-sex couples from marrying.
So why can't the judge simply declare that Michigan's law against unmarried couples jointly adopting violates equal protection and throw out that law? Then DeBoer and Rowse's case would be resolved because that barrier to adoption would be removed, and that IS the basis of their case, isn't it? The desire to jointly adopt.
Obviously, the fact that they are banned from marrying is the reason they're not married, but that still seems to be a separate issue in this case. Is it because they would marry if they could and are in the middle of a catch-22 that the marriage ban is an issue?
I'm sorry if I'm seeming dense here. I've usually really good at understanding legal issues, but this one just seems to be escaping me. I got straight A's in all my business and contract law classes in college, but this one just isn't clicking.
What distinguishes this case from all the other challenges to Baker that have been tried, is that this couple has to be married in order to enjoy equal protection under the adoption law and the case at hand is an ongoing adoption. While DeBoer and Rowse are an unmarried couple, they are only similarly situated with those within that group who are unmarried because their marriage would not be legally permitted. What gets them out of that odd company is the specific reason they are in it, the same sex marriage ban, which excludes them and other same sex couples alone from being permitted to marry. The central issue is still the couple's equal protection rights under the adoption law, the question of their right to be married at all just happened to come up in that discussion.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#19 Mar 6, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>What distinguishes this case from all the other challenges to Baker that have been tried, is that this couple has to be married in order to enjoy equal protection under the adoption law and the case at hand is an ongoing adoption. While DeBoer and Rowse are an unmarried couple, they are only similarly situated with those within that group who are unmarried because their marriage would not be legally permitted. What gets them out of that odd company is the specific reason they are in it, the same sex marriage ban, which excludes them and other same sex couples alone from being permitted to marry. The central issue is still the couple's equal protection rights under the adoption law, the question of their right to be married at all just happened to come up in that discussion.
Okay. THAT makes sense. So the couple is arguing that it's not the adoption laws that are the problem because they WOULD be equally protected if they could get married because they'd be happy to, but the DOMA law forbids it. So their case about an adoption issue pulls in the seemingly unrelated DOMA law because that's what holding them back, not the adoption laws. Is that right?

So what's technically different about this case is that it's NOT simply two people seeking a marriage license and getting turned away, which for some bizarre reason doesn't violate the equal protection clauses of every constitution in play here, but whatever... THIS case is about an unjust RESULT of them being turned away from getting a marriage license, so it's not the same as them simply being turned away. There's demonstrable harm here.

Can you see why this seems so odd to me?? Any way you look at it, it's people being treated unfairly by the government with no justification for the treatment, but there's so much legal tap-dancing going on, it's hard to see what's really happening.

So what, then, would be different about a judgment in our favor in this case versus any other case that challenges DOMA? Just the fact that's it's not about DOMA per se but about equal protection under adoption laws and a demonstrable harm that DOMA does to them? Does that mean that such a judgment would be harder to overturn?

“ reality, what a concept”

Since: Nov 07

this one

#20 Mar 6, 2013
eJohn wrote:
Okay. THAT makes sense. So the couple is arguing that it's not the adoption laws that are the problem because they WOULD be equally protected if they could get married because they'd be happy to, but the DOMA law forbids it. So their case about an adoption issue pulls in the seemingly unrelated DOMA law because that's what holding them back, not the adoption laws. Is that right?
BINGO! They wanted to adopt as a couple. but ended up needing to be married first, oops. The adoption law requires they be married to adopt as a couple, but the marriage law says they can't be married. This creates an equal protection issue for the adoption law. The marriage ban isn't standing in the way of a marriage, it is standing in the way of an adoption. The judge solves the adoption law's equal protection problem, by killing off the marriage law.
eJohn wrote:
So what's technically different about this case is that it's NOT simply two people seeking a marriage license and getting turned away, which for some bizarre reason doesn't violate the equal protection clauses of every constitution in play here, but whatever... THIS case is about an unjust RESULT of them being turned away from getting a marriage license, so it's not the same as them simply being turned away. There's demonstrable harm here.
Can you see why this seems so odd to me?? Any way you look at it, it's people being treated unfairly by the government with no justification for the treatment, but there's so much legal tap-dancing going on, it's hard to see what's really happening.
So what, then, would be different about a judgment in our favor in this case versus any other case that challenges DOMA? Just the fact that's it's not about DOMA per se but about equal protection under adoption laws and a demonstrable harm that DOMA does to them? Does that mean that such a judgment would be harder to overturn?
What Richard Baker and James McConnell tried to do back in 1970 was one hell of a long shot which backfired against everyone else for the next 40 odd years now. They simply asked for the same thing we are asking for today, but back then, when it was still criminal to do homosexual stuff in most places, even in Minnesota, what they asked for was a jaw dropper. The central premise of the Minnesota Supreme Court is that it was a right which at that point, not yet recognized anywhere and they certainly weren't going to be first. The legacy of Baker is that while there is an individual right to marriage, it does not extend to someone of the same sex and the Supreme Court's dismissal of the case for lack of a federal question has shot down many cases. What makes this one different and Baker proof is the ongoing adoption. DeBoer and Rouse are claiming that it is the adoption law that violates equal protection, but in order to do that, they have been asked to prove that the marriage ban itself is unconstitutional. Whether the adoption law violates their equal protection rights clears the Baker hurdle of their being no federal question in regards to bans on same sex marriage. The adoption law might be unconstitutional, in order to find out, we have to find out whether same sex marriage bans are constitutional first.

Here I thought it would take a case from a state Supreme Court to finally kill off the Baker case, this works just as well and might work faster. The question is subsidiary to the case in chief and the bits that spin off cases like this tend to move faster through the system.

“Marriage Equality”

Since: Dec 07

Lakeland, MI

#21 Mar 7, 2013
Rick in Kansas wrote:
<quoted text>....What makes this one different and Baker proof is the ongoing adoption. DeBoer and Rouse are claiming that it is the adoption law that violates equal protection, but in order to do that, they have been asked to prove that the marriage ban itself is unconstitutional. Whether the adoption law violates their equal protection rights clears the Baker hurdle of their being no federal question in regards to bans on same sex marriage. The adoption law might be unconstitutional, in order to find out, we have to find out whether same sex marriage bans are constitutional first....
Okay, THIS is what is baffling me. Why isn't this just as simple as the adoption law requiring two people be married in order to adopt jointly being struck down as the equal treatment violation?

Granted, it makes sense that a couple filing for joint adoption should be legally married. If you can't commit to legally marrying, why can you commit to jointly raising a child?

But the reason this law was put in place in Michigan (I was here and I remember it well) was *specifically* to stop gay couples from jointly adopting in Michigan. The two women who's joint adoption (it was a second-parent adoption, actually) sparked the idiot panic that got this law adopted are old friends of mine. I used to work with one of them years ago.

So maybe that's why I'm finding the inclusion of the marriage issue so baffling here--because I know that the adoption law ALSO has one and only one purpose behind it--to disadvantage gay couples and their families. So it seems odd to me that dragging in yet another anti-gay law would make a difference when the first one is also just as anti-gay as the second.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Family Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Minnesota kids too fat to fight, ex-generals say 8 min LIbEralS 8
News From Hurricane Katrina to Howard University, a ... 11 min Le Jimbo 3
News How to Witness to a Jehovah's Witness Ray Comfo... 1 hr QUITTNER May 3 2015 1,245
News Why more than 100,000 people have asked TLC to ... 3 hr Tazo 11
News How to teach students not to do everything they... 5 hr tom wingo 2
News Hip hop with pop 6 hr I Got Lucky 1
News Why vaccinating our child is a good idea: Maria... 8 hr VACCINES MAIM KILL 1
More from around the web