Michigan's voter-approved gay marriage ban will face a trial after a federal judge declined a motion by the state to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the prohibition. Citing last week's Supreme Court decision that effectively gives federal marriage benefits to same-sex marriages in states where they're already legal, the judge declared that the "plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.” It looks like this is one of what will likely be many court challenges to state gay marriage bans in the wake of the SCOTUS decisions.
The lawsuit in question began as an adoption case: the two plaintiffs, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, both nurses, are an unmarried couple living with each other in a house they own together. Each has at least one adopted child, but they're barred by state law from adopting each other's kids (only single people or married couples may adopt in Michigan, meaning that one, but not both, members of an LGBT couple may adopt). And, similar to Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's decision on the DOMA case, the lawsuit alleges that the state law violates the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. Later, the suit was amended to include a challenge to the state's gay marriage ban, too, also citing equal protection and due process. That ban, passed by voters in 2004, amended the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages and civil unions.