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UPDATE (10/16/13 3:30 p.m.) Friedman announced that he intends to hold a trial and that each side of the case will exchange witness lists. The trial will be Feb. 25.
UPDATE (10/16/13 12:00 p.m.): The rally has begun. For coverage and photos, click here.
U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman is expected to rule today on Hazel Park couple Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer’s lawsuit against Michigan and Oakland County for the right to jointly adopt their children and marry each other.
The highly anticipated ruling capstones a more-than-yearlong endeavor for the couple and could potentially make Michigan the next Marriage Equality State.
Friedman will hear arguments on the legality of Michigan’s ban on marriage equality at 2:30 p.m. today at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit.
If Friedman rules in the couple’s favor, same-sex marriage will become legal in Michigan until the state government requests a stay of the ruling. A stay would hold the ruling until higher courts have had an opportunity to review the case and issue rulings.
“I would expect the Attorney General’s Office to file a stay if the court rules it’s unconstitutional,” Barbara Byrum, Ingham County Clerk and a former state lawmaker told BTL last July. “If a stay is not filed, I will immediately begin offering marriages to all loving couples.”
Byrum is just one of the many county clerks who will begin marrying couples as early as today in counties across the state, waiving the three-day wait period typically required between getting a license and being wed.
To better assist same-sex couples eager to marry, Equality Michigan has compiled a comprehensive list of which counties will be issuing licenses immediately following the ruling.
Regardless of Friedman’s ruling, Attorney General Bill Schuette intends to keep fighting for Michigan’s 2004 marriage amendment.
In a brief issued by Schuette on Sept. 9, Schuette wrote, “If, as some contend, a change in public opinion has occurred, that does not in and of itself make Michigan’s Marriage Amendment or its Adoption Code unconstitutional. At best, it would make them misaligned with public opinion, and there is an appropriate forum for remedying that–the democratic process–not this Court.”
Meanwhile, support from Michigan voters continues to rise, with 2013 polls showing as high as 57 percent of Michiganders in support of legalizing same-sex marriage.