91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Michigan gay marriage goes on trial

DeBoer Rowse Adoption Legal Fund
Jayne Rowse (left) and April DeBoer hope to overturn Michigan's gay marriage ban.

Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is now on trial before a federal judge.

Ahead of opening arguments today, demonstrators supporting and opposed to the gay marriage ban in front of the courthouse as April DeBoer and Jayne Rouse showed up with their attorneys. DeBoer says they initiated the lawsuit so she and her partner could adopt the children they’re already raising together.

“Nothing says family like the marriage license that says we are legally a family,” DeBoer said as she headed into court. “That’s what we’re hoping for and we think we’re going to get.”

Demonstrators who support the ban were outside the courthouse as opening arguments got underway.

One of the marchers, Rex Evans, is the pastor of the First Free Will Baptist Church in Ypsilanti. He says the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution should have settled the question.

“The public has already spoken on it in 2004,” Evans said. “We’re standing in support of traditional marriage because that’s what the Bible says and we are God-fearing people, and we’re trying to obey the word of God, and we’re standing out here as a peaceful protest.”

DeBoer’s attorneys said in the opening arguments that she wants to settle once and for all that research shows gay couples are just as good parents as male-female couples, and debunk studies that say otherwise. The state says there’s still not enough research to know for sure, and this is a decision that should be left to voters. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.