Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down By Judge; State Now 18th to Allow Same-Sex Weddings

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A federal judge Friday struck down Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

As such, the state becomes the 18th in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to join in legal matrimony just like their heterosexual counterparts.

Mich Marriage

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately filed for an emergency request for a stay of the ruling in the late afternoon Friday.

Schuette said that "Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our state constitution, and their will should stand and be respected."

"In 2004 the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable."

It's unclear if that stay will be granted.

In his 31-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heavily criticized the state's position that the will of the voters should have been upheld.

"In attempting to define this case as a challenge to 'the will of the people,' state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people," Friedman wrote.

"No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs," the judge went on.

"[They] seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples."

Two Hazel Park, Mich., nurses, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, filed their lawsuit in January 2012, saying Michigan has no rational basis for denying them the right.

The women have been partners for eight years.

"It's just amazing," said DeBoer, who wiped away tears and hugged Rowse after learning of Friedman's ruling. "This is what we've wanted for our family and families like ours."

"We got our day in court, and we won."

Friedman did not follow the trend of other federal judges handling similar cases across the country because he did not stay his ruling pending appeal.

Unlike most federal judges who have taken up the gay-marriage issue, Friedman opted last fall to hold a trial and give both sides a chance to present their arguments.

Friedman's ruling came two weeks after the trial. 

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