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WASHTENAW – Approximately 20 couples wait in line at the Washtenaw County Clerk office, each with service numbers, eagerly awaiting the results of Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer’s hearing before U.S. Court District Judge Bernard Friedman.
The couple filed a lawsuit against Michigan and Oakland County for the right to marry each other and jointly adopt their children.
If Judge Friedman rules in their favor, same-sex marriage will be legal in Michigan unless – and until – the state issues a stay of the ruling.
When 2:30 p.m. hit – the moment today’s hearing began – a group of same-sex marriage supporters at the clerk office began cheering “It is time.”
The marriage licenses applications are yellow, still bearing male and female gender markers. Applicants have been asked to cross out one or the other.
Over 125 people are in the clerk office lobby.
UPDATE: By the time Judge Friedman’s ruling was announced, Washtenaw County had at least 48 applications to be filed.
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.
Following the announcement the crowd dispersed.
OAKLAND – About a dozen people – all women – are waiting at the Oakland county courthouse, hoping they will be able to marry today.
Lavora R. Barnes, Deputy Clerk/Register says she is very hopeful that today will be the day same-sex couples will be able to marry.
Lisa Brown, Oakland County Clerk, is at the federal courthouse as she is part of the case.
“A very exciting day!” says Gil Evans, standing along his partner of 54 years, Don Nadel. Evans is a retired hairdresser and Nadel a retired teacher from Oak Park schools.
UPDATE: Kat and Jennifer LaTosch said they were disappointed that they can’t get married today. They showed up at the Oakland County courthouse dressed up and with their two sons, all ready to celebrate a wedding.
But not today.
Jennifer, an attorney, said, “I’m confident that we will eventually be able to marry. It will give our children added security they deserve and need. I’m hopeful that when this case goes to trial in February that marriage equality will become law in Michigan.”
Just before court was in recess, there were about 15 couples at the courthouse, men and women, ready to be married.
Many people refused to be interviewed or photographed in the courthouse. They were there to be married, but when asked, each of them said they could lose their jobs if they came out to a reporter.