On The Docket: Federal Court Weighs Gay Marriage Cases From Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee

August 5, 2014

By Travis Wright

When same-sex marriage is argued tomorrow before a federal appeals judge in Cincinnati, a case involving two metro Detroit women will be at the center of the debate.

Two local nurses in a long-term committed relationship, Jane Rowse and April DeBoer, are fighting to legally adopt each other’s children. Their case will be argued along with suits from Ohio. Kentucky and Tennessee tomorrow [Weds August 6th] before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette made the appeal immediately after a federal district court ruling in March struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Now, three federal judges will hear six different cases surrounding the legality of gay marriage.

The hearings will mark the fourth time a federal appeals court will hear arguments pertaining to gay marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to strike down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Gay rights debates aren’t new to southern Ohio. Cincinnati was the site of debate on gay rights a decade ago, when resident Chris Seelbach campaigned, successfully, to repeal a city statute prohibiting the protection from discrimination in housing, employment and other matters based on sexual orientation. In 2011, he was elected the city's first openly gay councilman.