In last week’s DOMA decision, Justice Antonin Scalia said that the court’s opinion practically invited a court challenge so that gay marriage could become legal in all 50 states. He said that we are merely waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Well, it didn’t take long for the shoe to hit the pavement. A lesbian couple in Michigan is now suing for adoption rights based on last week’s DOMA decision. Only married couples are allowed to adopt in Michigan, and Michigan prohibits gay marriage. So the couple is arguing that they are being treated unfairly by not being allowed to adopt one another’s children. The Atlantic wire reports:
The lawsuit in question began as an adoption case: the two plaintiffs, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, both nurses, are an unmarried couple living with each other in a house they own together. Each has at least one adopted child, but they’re barred by state law from adopting each other’s kids (only single people or married couples may adopt in Michigan, meaning that one, but not both, members of an LGBT couple may adopt). And, similar to Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s decision on the DOMA case, the lawsuit alleges that the state law violates the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. Later, the suit was amended to include a challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban, too, also citing equal protection and due process. That ban, passed by voters in 2004, amended the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages and civil unions.
You read that right. Even though the voters of Michigan amended their state constitution to ban gay marriage, last week’s DOMA case is now being used as an argument to overturn that ban. The judge in this cast cited the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision and said that the “plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.”
Make no mistake. There will be many more cases like this one cropping up all over the country. There will be shoes dropping all over the place—even in states where the majority opposes gay marriage.