This could be the case that overturns same-sex marriage bans across the country once and for all
Originally posted at Eclectablog.
[left to right: April, Nolan, Jacob, Jayne, and Ryanne. Photos by Anne C. Savage]
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are fighting to overturn Michigan's same-sex marriage ban, a law passed in 2004 which now is supported by less than half of our state's residents. What started as a challenge to Michigan's adoption laws, Jayne and April's case was broadened at the suggestion of federal Judge Bernard Friedman to challenge the ban on marriage equality. The case goes to court on February 25th, 2014.
This case will very likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Knowing this, the legal team that is handling this case has assembled an incredible list of nationally-renowned experts to give testimony. The foundation they build during this case will lay the groundwork for what comes afterwards so mounting a solid case is essential.
It's also very expensive. None of the lawyers who are working on the case have received a dime for their work. In addition, hiring expert witnesses of this caliber is very expensive. While marriage equality legal cases in other states have received millions of dollars in support, this case has not received the same level of financial support.
And that's why I am coming to you today. Please make a donation to the legal fund for this case today. You can do so at MichiganMarriageChallenge.com. Whether you can make a donation or not, please spread the word to your networks, on social media, and to anyone you know who might be interested in taking part in this historic moment in time. We need your help to make this important fundraiser a success.
Here's an excerpt from our interview. You can read the whole thing HERE.
So the law in Michigan is that single people can adopt but gay couples can’t. Is that right?
APRIL: Single people. Married couples can adopt. But unmarried couples cannot adopt. So, the example that we like to use is that, if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie showed up here in Michigan, they could not adopt a child together.
So the two of you have to adopt these kids as individuals.
So, is that what you’ve done? One of you adopted a couple of them and the other adopted the other one?
APRIL: We had the unusual pleasure of working with an agency that allowed us to do staggered adoptions. We’ve learned since that most agencies don’t allow that.
So, they make one person do all of the adoptions?
APRIL: Yeah. Most agencies will not allow you to stagger your adoptions like we did.
Is the rationale that they want to keep all of the kids together if something happens?
So, it was March of 2013 that the two of you decided to challenge that adoption law. Is that something that you decided to do yourselves or did you have people encouraging you or something else?
APRIL: The actual events that led to this is that we had taken the kids and gone down to Ohio for a vacation and we were coming back from Ohio on a two-lane highway. A truck was passing in our lane and it was snowing. The truck was in our lane coming right at us and we had nowhere to go. It was barreling down the road right towards us and the thing that saved us was that the guy in the truck made the decision to drive off the road into a field. Had he not done that, Jayne and I for sure would not have survived. I can guarantee that. As fast as he was going and as much weight as he was carrying because he was towing a washer or dryer or something in the back, there would have been no way that she and I would have survived.
That shook us up enough to say, hey, we need to make plans. What if one of us didn’t survive and one of us passes away? Only one of us has legal rights to these kids and we need set up our will and our trust and all of that to make sure that this is going to happen. All along, that’s what we thought would protect us. Everybody talked about doing wills and trusts and getting everything down on paper.
When was this?
JAYNE: That was around winter of 2011/2012.
So, we happened to learn about Dana Nessel from a board that we were on. She was working on the Renee Harmon case.
APRIL: It was a case involving two women who had lived together for something like 20 years. Her partner had given birth to three children and they had split up and she was trying to get visitation rights to see the children they had raised together and the Supreme Court turned her down.
So, we contacted Dana Nessel and we told her our story and she said, “You can write all of this. You can write it all on a piece of paper. You can cross every ’t’ and dot every ‘i’ but, if something happens to one of you, a judge can make whatever decision he or she likes.” If they believe that my straight mom would be a better parent to my daughter than her actual mother who has been raising her, then they can split the family. Keep in mind that you’re not just splitting a child from her parent but you’re also splitting siblings, splitting entire families.
What I like to point out to people is that my dad’s fourth cousin has more legal rights to Ryanne than Jayne does. Somebody that I don’t even know has more rights than Jayne does.
Please help by spreading the word about the MONEY BOMB and by making a donation at MichiganMarriageChallenge.com.