April Deboer and Jayne Rowse are challenging Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and its adoption code that prohibits the lesbian couple from adopting their three special-needs children together. A Federal Judge will hear their argument Thursday.

The couple have been in a committed relationship for over a decade, and are licensed foster parents. They've cared for their three children since birth, but are unable to jointly adopt the children, and say the Michigan Adoption Code violates their right to equal protection under the US Constitution.

"Jayne and I love our children as deeply as any other parent loves their kids," said DeBoer. "We just want our children to have the same protections all other children have, so that our kids know they can never be taken from either of us."

The couple filed a complaint challenging the code in January of 2012, and it has since been amended to challenge the same-sex marriage ban, expanding the scope of the case.

Federal Judge Bernard A. Friedman will hold a motion hearing so that he may hear arguments as to why gay and lesbian couples should or should not have the right to marry in the State of Michigan. Motions, which could be decisive on the matter, are scheduled for Thursday in Detroit.

Michigan is one of five states that does not allow same-sex couple to jointly adopt, and have parental rights to adopted children.

- George McIntyre
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