U.S. Supreme Court overturns Michigan same-sex marriage ban in slim, historic 5-4 vote


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Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer don't have to wait to any longer. After a three-year court battle, the Hazel Park couple that pursued a long-winded effort to overturn Michigan's same-sex marriage ban culminated in a historic vote by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to establish marriage equality in the nation.

The high court of the land overturned a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld Michigan's ban in a slim 5-4 vote. After several legal twists, now, the couple can get married. 

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy concluded, "No union is more profound than marriage for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family."

He continued, "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The Hazel Park couple was joined by supporters and media in Ann Arbor on Friday, awaiting for the decision to be handed down. They initially challenged a state law that prevented unmarried couples from adopting. When U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard the case, he said the issue at-hand was Michigan's same-sex marriage ban, and urged the couple to broaden their challenge. 

In March, Friedman overturned Michigan's ban, but his decision was reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. When DeBoer and Rowse appealed to the Supreme Court, the case was combined with similar petitions in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

In a statement, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who defended Michigan's 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, said: "Recognizing that there are strong feelings on both sides, it is important for everyone to respect the judicial process and the decision today from the U.S. Supreme Court."

A rally is planed in Ann Arbor at the Jim Toy Community Center in Ann Arbor at 5:30 p.m. tonight. More info can be found here

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