Michigan marriage challenge update

Timothy Kincaid

September 7th, 2012

April DeBoer of Hazel Park, left, and her partner, Jayne Rowse, stand with their children Nolan DeBoer-Rowse, 3, Ryanne DeBoer-Rowse, 2, and Jacob DeBoer-Rowse, 2, during a news conference Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. MANDI WRIGHT/Detroit Free Press

A lesbian couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, sued the state of Michigan over its adoption laws. Their lawyer explains: (Detroit Free Press)

One of their lawyers, Dana Nessel, pointed out that the state of Michigan certified DeBoer and Rowse to become foster parents together but won’t allow them to both adopt. Michigan law only allows singles or married couples to adopt.

“The state gave them children who had been abandoned and surrendered at birth to raise,” Nessel said. “And they are raising them with all the love, nurturing, care and affection that any parent would give to any child. But the state then rewards these women by telling them while they are good enough to foster as a couple, they aren’t good enough to adopt as a couple. We submit that this is pure and utter insanity.”

Yep. Insanity.

But the judge in the case surprised them by noting that they were fighting the wrong battle. Their issues would be over if they married and it’s really the marriage ban that is causing them to be subjected to discrimination.

Personally, I get that. I can see how a state could argue that if a couple was unwilling to make the legal commitments binding themselves together that they were not ideal to jointly adopt children. But it can’t then turn around and refuse to let the couple make such legal commitments.

So April and Jayne have updated their petition.

DeBoer and partner Jayne Rowse decided to take the battle they’re already fighting in U.S. District Court in Detroit one step further today. They amended their complaint in front of Judge Bernard A. Friedman that asks for the right to adopt as a same-sex couple, instead challenging Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard Jr. to declare Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and partnerships unconstitutional.

“This is totally not what we expected by any means,” Rowse said today, away from the podium during an announcement in the Penobscot Building. “We wanted to keep the kids’ rights at the forefront, the rights that any other child has.”

Rob in San Diego

September 7th, 2012

Well since they are not married, then technically they are single and living as roommates.

Emily

September 8th, 2012

As a Michigan resident, I’m definitely rooting for these two. What a beautiful family they have!

Steve

September 8th, 2012

Many states also allow single people to adopt, but prohibit gay couples from adopting. Which makes no sense whatsoever. They can’t argue that gay adoption would be bad for children while allowing single adoption.

I disagree about tying adoption to marriage though. Benefits need to be decoupled from marriage – for all couples. The suitability for adoption should be considered on a case by case basis.

Regan DuCasse

September 8th, 2012

That’s the funny thing about the idealizations the anti gay are advertising, and what reality requires.
The biological moms and dads, who are given all the freedom to have as many children as they want without gov’t interference or restraint, are the ones lacking in consideration of the conditions under which they choose to have those children or prevent their conception.
Hence, in just about every state, CPS and foster services are overwhelmed with needful children.

NOM, FRC and so on, have little influence when it comes to having hets punished or restricted in any way. They don’t even advocate for much easier, cheaper and accessible birth control. Quite the opposite in fact.

They want to punish gay people for NOT spontaneously procreating, yet are hard pressed to make hets stick to their parental duties, let alone spousal ones.
Divorce occurs with alarming and tragic regularity.
So making things more difficult for those gay adults who ARE being responsible, compassionate and so generous with their homes and love for kids in need, seems more like spite and not any form of common sense.
Common sense would respect ANY adult who is being this responsible at all.
Because plenty of them are not.

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