Federal judge approves challenge to Michigan ban on gay marriage

In his ruling, the judge cited the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 2, 2013 1:49PM (EDT)

A federal judge has ruled that a challenge to Michigan's statewide ban on same-sex marriages can proceed, citing the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

The case involves a lesbian couple that wants to adopt three children, but is barred from it under both a state constitutional amendment and a state statute. As Marty Lederman at SCOTUSblog explains, the constitutional amendment, "enacted in 2004, provides that '[t]o secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.'" The state statute limits adoption to single people or married couples. Thus since they are not considered married under state law, the couple cannot adopt.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman rejected a motion to dismiss the challenge, which had been filed by the state, writing that “Construing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, and in view of the Supreme Court’s current statement of the law, this Court cannot say that plaintiffs’ claims for relief are without plausibility. Plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.”

“The United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Windsor has provided the requisite precedential fodder for both parties to this litigation," Judge Friedman wrote in his opinion.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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