US: Judge postpones ruling on lesbian couple’s adoption and equal marriage ban in Michigan

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A judge has posponed making a decision on a potentially groundbreaking case for equal marriage in the state of Michigan, and has said he will wait until the US Supreme Court makes a decision on equal marriage, before he rules.

District Judge Bernard Friedman, had been set to hear arguments in the case of a lesbian couple, each with their own child, who wanted to adopt each other’s. He had advised last year that they pose a legal challenge to a 2004 amendment banning equal marriage in the state, to test whether or not it was constitutional.

Two Detroit nurses, Jayne Rowse, 48, and April DeBoer, 41, have lived together for over six years with three children, Nolan, 4, Jacob, 3, and Ryanne, 3, a girl, who were unable to be raised by their birth parents.

The two boys were adopted by Rowse, and DeBoer adopted Ryanne, seperately, however under state law, it is impossible for the couple to adopt each other’s children because they aren’t married.

“A lot more people have come out and said ‘Good luck, thanks for doing this.’” Said Rowse, reports WXYZ.

Rowse said: “If this is what it takes to get our children’s rights covered, that’s what we’re going to do.”

The couple had never intended to challenge the ban on equal marriage, but did so once advised by the judge.

“It’s kind of hard, but like I said he’s got to have all the facts,” said DeBoer. “He needs to make the right decision and we’re confident that he will and that again our children will be ours again.”

The state had asked the judge to throw out the case – saying that it should be decided on by a referendum, rather than a court ruling.

Judge Friedman made a decision behind closed doors to postpone his decision, and will issue a written notice once the Supreme Court makes its ruling.

The Supreme Court is due on 26 March to take up the case of whether to overturn Proposition 8, which in 2008 added a clause to the Californian constitution stating that marriage could only be recognised by the state if it were between a man and a woman, causing widespread controversy.