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New Attorneys for Michigan Gay Marriage Suit

April DeBoer and Jayne RowseThe fight continues for gay rights in the state of Michigan. As reported a few months ago on Back2Stonewall, the couples April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are suing for the right to be married and to adopt children legally in the State of Michigan.

On July 10, Federal Judge Bernard Friedman set a court date for the couple to be heard. This date is October 1, 2013.

The Defendant in the case, Oakland County Clerk (who is in charge of issuing marriage licenses) is Lisa Brown. When interviewed by Pride Source/Between the Line, she stated that she dismissed the county-paid corporation counsel and brought in civil rights attorneys to represent her and her office.

Her idea behind this is simple. She wants April and Jayne to succeed in both the adoption and marriage case. Brown has openly agreed with the woman’s claim that they should be allowed to marry, and in February she withdrew former County Clerk Bill Bullard’s motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ case. She also brought in civil rights experts from Pitt-McGehee to argue on behalf on the clerk’s office.

Brown was quoted –

“It was evident that corporation counsel was following what Brooks [Patterson] wanted, not taking the path best for the County Clerk’s office. I would like to see marriage equality come to fruition and I want to do all I can to see that happen. They [corporation counsel] wanted the lawsuit to be dismissed and I didn’t agree with that. As the Clerk I am the one elected to be responsible for the issuance of marriage licenses, and I am the one in the lawsuit. I need to have counsel that would represent me properly.”

Brown stated that she is glad the judge said the plaintiffs should have their day in court.

Brown stated that she is already having new marriage license applications drawn up that are gender-neutral so they can be ready to go should same-sex couples be able to marry.

“There are no facts in dispute, both sides agree this is just a matter of law” stated co-counsel for the plaintiffs Dana Nessel.

This case began in March 2012 when the plaintiffs filed a suit in order to jointly adopt their children. In September 2012 the Federal Judge suggested the women amend their case to include the right to marry, as that is what technically prevented them from joint adoption under Michigan law. The state filed a motion to dismiss and a hearing was held March 7, 2013. The judge then decided to postpone his decision until the U.S. Supreme Court made their decision on the same-sex marriage cases, which it did June 26, 2013. The judge then dismissed the motion to dismiss and has now set a date of October 1, 2013 to potentially make his ruling.

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