‘I Will Love You Forever’

By |2015-08-27T09:00:00-04:00August 27th, 2015|Opinions, Viewpoints|

The DeBoer-Rowse wedding Saturday night was simply magical. The excitement and energy was contagious as each guest arrived, grinning and enthusiastically supportive of the remarkable family that was about to be legally joined. People journeyed from across the country: plaintiffs from Texas, the first married couple from California, lawyers and judges, friends and family, all there to share in the love and the history of the evening.
The children expressed the essence of the marriage ceremony when they each said to their new legal parent, “I take you to be my legal mommy and I will love you forever.” This case was always about the children for April and Jayne, so it was totally fitting that the kids be the ones to speak for themselves and their now legally secure family.
The event itself was flawless – from the organization, the decor, music, right down to the table favors. Even the one unscripted moment when little Jacob interrupted April’s vows by needing an emergency potty break just added to the sweetness of this extraordinary gathering.
Event planning began in early July when April called BTL publisher Jan Stevenson to say she and Jayne were getting married Aug. 22. The Pi Banquet Hall in Southfield had called them offering to donate the hall, all the catering, linens and open bar. But they needed invitations. Did Stevenson know anyone who could help?
Stevenson said she knew invitation vendors, but what about all the other elements of the event – flowers, dresses, hotel, limo, etc.? After several seconds of silence, April said, “I have five kids. I haven’t thought about any of that.”
Stevenson asked if she could call April back, and that’s when the BTL staff got on the phone calling exhibitors from the Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo, a BTL event produced each March since 2010. The staff asked them to donate their services for the DeBoer-Rowse wedding. “No one we talked to even hesitated,” said Stevenson. “To a person, each business owner said ‘absolutely – count me in – whatever they need.'”
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, interviewed in this issue, donated his time and authority to officiate the wedding ceremony. By ordering a trial in April and Jayne’s case against the state of Michigan, Friedman launched the legal process that culminated at the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. It was the SCOTUS ruling on June 26 that granted full marriage equality to everyone across the country. “I am elated,” said Friedman when asked Saturday night how he felt about joining Jayne and April in matrimony.
Community is about connecting, about taking care of each other, about knowing when to step up – and then doing it. Our community stepped up for these women in a way that said we are strong, we understand we need each other and we are willing to do what is right and good. BTL is proud to be part of such a powerful, compassionate community.
And we are grateful to each of the businesses who donated their goods and services. They are all listed on page nine of this issue. Each went above and beyond to create a wonderful experience for everyone in attendance.
We also want to thank April and Jayne for allowing Between The Lines to help them with this historic event. Although BTL has followed their story since its inception four years ago, our relationship is more professional than personal and we are honored and humbled they trusted us to recruit most of the vendors for their special day.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.