A judge in Michigan indicated on Monday that a court case may take place to examine the constitutionality of the state’s equal marriage ban. US District Judge Bernard Friedman did not reject a lawsuit that will question Michigan’s position on marriage, nine years after voters defined it as being between a man and a woman only.
In a case similar to the one taken against Proposition 8 in California, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer will challenge Michigan’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban, as well as a law that prohibits them from adopting each other’s children. However in this instance, the state will defend its laws in court, unlike California.
“This court cannot say the plaintiffs’ claim for relief are without plausibility. Plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it,” Friedman said.
The Office of the Attorney General has vowed to defend Michigan’s constitution vigorously, despite being unhappy that the case will be heard. Last week’s ruling on DOMA allows states to frame their own position on marriage equality, but those which do institute equal marriage will have federal recognition.
Judge Friedman could still issue a judgment without a trial, depending on out-of-court testimony taken in advance.
Michigan is one of four states, along with Arizona, Colorado and Ohio where it is believed that voters could be asked as soon as November 2014 to strike down constitutional bans on equal marriage. However, strategists may delay until 2016, as turnout will be higher in a presidential election year.