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Michigan Gay Marriage Ban: Unconstitutional?

March 21st, 2013

Michigan Capital Building

Same-sex marriage is an issue that has recently gained considerable momentum. While the US federal government only recognizes heterosexual marriages, nine states allow marriages between homosexual couples. Most states, however, prohibit marriage between same-sex couples.  We at the Universal Life Church support equal rights and feel that the following legal case is worth while to blog about.

Two such affected citizens are Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer of Michigan. Between them, they care for three adopted children: one girl, Ryanne, legally adopted by DeBoer, and two boys, Jacob and Nolan, adopted by Rowse. While Rowse and DeBoer retain individual custody, they fear, should something happen to either of them, that their children may be separated since the couple is not legally married.

This contingency led the couple to challenge the state’s adoption laws. During the preliminary trials they were surprised when the presiding federal judge, Judge Bernard Friedman, urged them to expand their lawsuit to overturn the Michigan gay marriage ban. He felt that it may violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause, which prohibits states from passing laws that grant some people privileges while disbarring others.

While the state of Michigan has some of the most restrictive marriage laws in the nation, the populace may be poised for change should the issue come up for vote. Michigan’s 2004 gay marriage ban passed by only nine percent, while according to the Washington Post, national support for same-sex marriage in March of this year rose 17% from 2004.

Furthermore, Michigan’s Odawa Indian Tribe performed its first same-sex marriage ceremony earlier in March. The reason the tribe recognizes same-sex marriage was that the concept only heterosexual marriages are valid was imposed on them by Western values, and does not reflect their belief in the spirit’s dual male/female nature.  This concern echoes the idea that same-sex marriage is both an issue of civil rights and religious freedom. While Indian tribes are separate, sovereign entities from the US government, the newly married Odawa couple hopes that their tribe’s decision will open the door for gay marriage in Michigan, as well as equal marriage rights for all people living in America.

For now, the status of same-sex marriage in Michigan is yet to be decided. While Judge Bernard helped incite the challenge brought against the state’s ban, he has said that he awaits guidance from the Supreme Court. The ruling will be decided in the summer.


  1. AFA-Michigan says:

    Michigan’s Marriage Protection Amendment was approved in 2004 by a vote of 59 percent to 41 percent. That’s a margin of 18 percent, not nine.

    A poll by a Democratic campaign consultant in 2009 found that over 90 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents, and half of all Democrats in Michigan would vote to keep the amendment if it appeared again on the ballot — stronger support than it got the first time.

    The so-called “marriage” performed by the Odawa tribe was approved by a 5-4 vote of the tribal council, so apparently it was not based on some universal native value that was subjugated by later Americans. In any case, the “marriage” has no legal basis or recognition in or by the state of Michigan.

  2. Cathey says:

    Marriage should be with a man and a woman!It is a sin otherwise!

    • Fu Que says:

      Cathy- You probably believe that marriage should be between two people of the same race too! The same argument was used back then as well. You’re just IGNORANT Cathy!

    • Joe says:

      Cathey, the ULC promotes freedom of religion which in my opinion; sin is based on religions for example some religions allow multiple marriages whereas others do not. So if my religion allows gay marriage it is not a sin for me. Why should you be able to state what should and shouldn’t be allowed based on your religious views.

  3. Marie says:

    I was happy to read that the Odawa tribe approved it and their reasoning is sound: “and does not reflect their belief in the spirit’s dual male/female nature.” All the same I believe these decisions should be made on the basis of the American spirit, not particularly the spiritual beliefs of any given population.

  4. Frank says:

    Two women carrying for and providing a loving home for three adopted children. Tough to do. Even tougher with current civil status. Last I noticed, Michigan is part of the United States and with the freedoms granted by the First Amendment, religion should not enter into this question of Civil Rights.

  5. Fu Que says:

    When do we vote on “straight marriage? It should be OUTLAWED as it ends in divorce more often than not!

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