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One Case May Determine the Fate of Gay Marriage in America
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April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse, and their three children.

Summary: A Michigan couple has filed for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, in hopes that the Court will finally rule on the issue of gay marriage.

A couple that decided to challenge Michigan’s ban on gay marriage will now present their case to the United States Supreme Court, hoping that the court will hand down a ruling that will legalize gay marriage once and for all across the country, the Huffington Post reports.


April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed a petition for writ of certiorari on Monday, which seeks to reverse the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to enforce Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages. That ruling, from early November, also impacted cases from Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The new petition poses a simple question for the court: “Whether a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.”

The petition reads, “Gay and lesbian citizens in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee are denied the fundamental freedom and equal right to marry, and their families are deprived of the status, dignity, security, and stability that marriage brings. This Court should grant the petition and hold that prohibiting same-sex couples from joining in marriage violates our nation’s most cherished and essential guarantees.”

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The attorney general of Michigan has thoroughly defended the state’s ban on gay marriage, arguing that it is indeed constitutional. However, he also urged the Supreme Court to take the case.

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Petitions have also been filed in the cases from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. As soon as state replies are filed, the cases will be ready to be submitted to the justices. As of now, it looks as though the cases arrived in enough time to be heard in the current term, which will end in mid-2015. Of course, the Supreme Court must first decide whether it will review any of the cases.

In a ruling that surprised many, the Supreme Court denied petitions in October that sought the appeal of rulings that had struck down gay marriage bans in five states. At that time, however, appeals courts had consistent rulings on the issue.

Here’s an article about the denial of the petitions.

DeBoer and Rowse argue that their case should be heard by the justices because the 6th Circuit decision conflicts with that of four other circuit courts and “concluded that the Constitution cannot tolerate laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying.”

Here are descriptions of the briefs that have been filed with the Supreme Court on the same-sex marriage issue.

As for the Ohio and Tennessee cases, they center on recognizing same-sex marriages that have been performed out-of-state. In Ohio’s petition, it claims the state “treated Petitioners as second-class citizens whose most intimate relationships have been denied the dignity and respect they deserve.”

DeBoer and Rowse first filed a suit in 2012 in hopes of changing the adoption laws in Michigan. The couple had adopted three children, two of whom have special needs. They sought joint custody, as well as equal parenting rights. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman advised the couple to challenge the constitutionality of Michigan’s gay marriage ban, which was added to the state constitution by vote in 2004. Roughly 59 percent of voters approved the amendment. In March, Friedman struck down the ban, which was later reversed by the court of appeals.

Here’s an article about same-sex marriage in Michigan.

DeBoer said, “When we first brought this case, we vowed to do anything we had to in order to protect our children and our family, even if that meant having to take our case all the way to the Supreme Court. That day is finally here, and we hope the Court sees fit to accept our case and provide the same security to our family that other families count on.”

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