BY AJ TRAGER
6TH CIRCUIT –Petitions to The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) have been filed in all four states in the 6th Circuit, which recently issued its ruling on marriage equality for the midwest states.
Michigan plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two nurses requesting that the state recognize their right to jointly adopt their children, and therefore legally marry, filed their petition with SCOTUS Nov. 17, just days after Tennessee and Ohio cases filed on Nov. 14. Kentucky filed their petition just shy of an hour after Michigan.
The states filed their petitions with the high court as a result of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Nov. 6, where, in a 2-1 decision, the court upheld marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, finding that state marriage bans do not violate the U.S. Constitution.
“There is no dispute that the question raised here is of paramount importance,” the Michigan petition states on page five. “Although prior circuit court rulings found that laws banning marriage by same-sex couples violate the Fourteenth Amendment, the Sixth Circuit disagreed. Gay and lesbian citizens in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee are denied the fundamental freedom and equal right to marry, and their families are deprived of the status, dignity, security and stability that marriage brings.”
“A Supreme Court ruling on the issue of marriage equality will mean that families will finally get the equality and protections they need and deserve,” said Michigan For Marriage Coalition Manager, Gina Calcagno. “Discrimination still burdens too many families and with the split in the courts, it’s time for the Supreme Court to take swift action on these cases and bring national resolution once and for all. Michigan families, and families across America should no longer be forced to fight court by court, state by state, day by day for the freedom and dignity that our Constitution promises.”
The 6th Circuit decision was the first time a federal appeals court ruled against the freedom to marry and created a conflict with four other federal appeals courts that have ruled in similar state marriage bans in recent months, declaring them unconstitutional.
In their request to SCOTUS, the three Tennessee couples argue: “Breaking with the otherwise uniform view of the courts of appeals, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit upheld Tennessee’s Non-Recognition Laws. The court of appeals’ holding not only denies recognition to petitioners’ own marriages and families, but also establishes a “checkerboard” nation in which same-sex couples’ marriages are dissolved and reestablished as they travel across the country. That is the antithesis of the stability that marriage is supposed to afford.”
GLAD’s Mary Bonauto, described by US Representative Barney Frank as “our Thurgood Marshall,” for the LGBT equality movement has joined with DeBoer attorneys to help organize arguments for SCOTUS, DeBoer attorney Dana Nessel told BTL. Bonauto has been an LGBT defender since 1987 and has worked on cases such as civil union recognition in Connecticut and the passing of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. She is also known for being called “the legal architect of the DOMA repeal,” as reported by Slate magazine.
Filing the review to SCOTUS will cost the DeBoer legal team $10,000 for the filing fee and $10,000 to prepare the material in the manner preferred by the high court.
Sandi Smith, president of the Jim Toy Community Center stated that the projected cost to get to the Supreme Court will cost upwards of $250,000.
To read the Michigan SCOTUS petition click here.