You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Judge taking a look at Mich. gay marriage ban

DETROIT — A lesbian couple’s desire to adopt each other’s children has grown into a potentially groundbreaking challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Two Detroit-area nurses filed a lawsuit to try to overturn restrictions on adoption by same-sex partners. But at the judge’s invitation, the case took an extraordinary turn and now will test the legality of a 2004 constitutional amendment that stipulates that Michigan recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.

Continue reading below

US District Judge Bernard Friedman will hear arguments in the case Thursday at a Detroit law school, although he has not indicated when he will make a ruling. If he concludes the amendment violates the US Constitution, same-sex couples would immediately be allowed to wed and adopt children, gay-marriage supporters say.

State officials, however, predict ‘‘potential legal chaos’’ if the judge throws out the gay-marriage ban.

‘‘This is not the road we thought we’d go down,’’ Jayne Rowse, 48, said in an interview this week. ‘‘We thought Judge Friedman would rule one way or the other on second-parent adoption. No one anticipated this. It was out of left field.’’

Her partner, April DeBoer, 41, said the lawsuit was filed because they wanted to protect their three children.

‘‘I know we’re taking on a bigger issue with same-sex marriage,’’ she said.

Rowse and DeBoer of Hazel Park have lived together for more than six years.

They share their home with Nolan, 4, and Jacob, 3, and a girl, Ryanne, 3, children who could not be raised by their birth parents.

Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
or
Please enter a valid email
BostonGlobe.com will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com