Documentary about MI couple's fight for LGBT rights premieres at Freep Film Festival

A documentary about a Michigan couple's fight for LGBT rights premiered at the Freep Film Festival on Saturday.

- A documentary featuring the story of the Michigan couple that helped make history for LGBT rights premiered Saturday evening at the Free Press Film Festival.

The film, called "Accidental Activists," highlights the story of April and Jayne DeBoer-Rowse, the lesbian couple from Hazel Park so determined to jointly adopt their children they fought to overturn Michigan's constitutional ban on gay marriage. They went on to join the handful of other cases that ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to legalize same-sex marriage.

The documentary was created by Detroit Free Press photojournalist Mandi Wright.

"It was amazing -- I mean to re-live all of those moments that you forget about when you're doing all of this," said April DeBoer-Rowse. "Mandi put her heart into this and it was just amazing."

The couple's attorney, Dana Nessel, said from the beginning of the case, she thought it would end up before the Supreme Court.

"Of course everybody said to me, 'You are completely insane,'" she said.

But Nessel was correct, and Wright, who has followed the family since the start of their legal battle in 2012, fitting four years of hard work into a 90-minute documentary, is hoping others are inspired by these accidental activists as much as she was.

"It was an incredible experience. I mean April and Jayne are wonderful, warm people. Their children are just adorable and they're raising them so kindly and gently. They're just a wonderful family," she said.

Jayne DeBoer-Rowse said she wants the documentary to inspire hope.

"(I hope) it gives everybody the insight to what a gay family is and that we're no different than anybody else," she said.


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