Local couple part of gay marriage case to be heard by US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will decide whether gay couples nationwide can marry.

On Friday it was announced that the case will be heard in April with a decision expected by June. 

One of the cases at the center of the debate is from metro Detroit - April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. 

"We're proud of where we are and how we can possibly impact people throughout the country," said April DeBoer.

DeBoer and Rowse are challenging the bans on gay marriage and joint adoption in Michigan. Now their case will be decided by the nation's highest court.

"We didn't start out to be activists in this case," Rowse said. "But it turned out to be that and I think we're all proud to be there and to represent all the other families like ours."

"The protection and security that marriage offers, the protection a family needs," DeBoer said. 

For them, it's a family that has grown since the case started. Already parents of three children, the couple adopted a fourth child in November. 

But even that was bittersweet because they could not adopt jointly because of Michigan law that says single and married people can adopt, but since gay people can't marry, they can't adopt jointly.

The case started out about adoption but turned into a marriage case. And after a trial in March, Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Michigan's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. 

But that was short-lived. Three hundred couples rushed out to marry then the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a stay - then overturned that ruling. 

Now, the Supreme Court takes the case to make a decision once and for all. 

"There are so many people who probably thought they would never be able to get married could possible now be able to," DeBoer said. "We're excited and nervous for the next steps in this process."

Gov. Rich Snyder who is listed a defendant in the case, released a statement:

"We appreciate that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an issue that has been divisive in our state and others. It's important for the same-sex marriage question to be resolved once and for all at the highest level. I will respect the decision of the court on an issue that has stirred passionate discussion and hope that Michiganders, and others across our country, can come together as we move forward."
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