Michigan gay marriage trial begins this week

Wedding ringsMichigan’s ban on same-sex marriage goes on trial this week in a federal courtroom in Detroit.

Opening arguments are set for Tuesday in the case of April DeBoer and Jayne Rouse versus Governor Rick Snyder. The lesbian couple wants to get married so they can jointly adopt three special needs children they’re raising together.

Dana Nessel is an attorney for the couple. She appeared on WXYZ-TV’s “Spotlight” program over the weekend, where she compared the case to legal challenges in the 1960s to Jim Crow laws.

“We believe that sexual orientation is no different than race, it’s an inherent trait,” Nessel said. “There is no legitimate reason for the state to discriminate against a group of people because they might be a little less popular or politically powerful than the majority.”

More than two dozen people are listed to be called as called as witnesses. Much of the case will focus on research dealing with children raised in households led by same-sex couples.

Nessel says the case could be a history-making moment in Michigan.

“We think that 20, 30, 40 years from now, hopefully, everyone will look back on this as something that was the right thing to do at the right time,” she said. “And, of course, our biggest hope is that it will improve the lives of so many families and so many children.”

Judges in five other states have struck down gay marriage bans. Michigan’s was approved by voters 10 years as an amendment to the state constitution.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the will of voters should not be overturned by a judge.

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