Artists from Southeast MI are fighting to make marriage equality a reality in Michigan. In partnership with the Jim Toy Community Center, the artists have given their time and talent to raise critically needed funds for the DeBoer-Rowse Family to legally co-adopt their three children. A benefit for the Michigan Marriage Challenge, presented by the Jim Toy Community Center will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 1pm at The ARK, 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-761-1800. Tickets: $250 Benefactor - reserved seating house floor front & center, $100 Supporters - reserved seating house center and $25 General Admission.
All of the artists and the attorneys are donating their time to help raise critically needed funds. This benefit is an opportunity for supporters of marriage equality to help make it a reality. Emceed by U of M Professor Holly Hughes, the evening will feature artists such as singer songwriter Vienna Teng (viennateng.com/), folk duo Nervous But Excited in a greatly anticipated re-union (nervousbutexcited.com), the Dueling Divas Callie McKee and Robby Griswold of Arbor Opera Theatre, and many others.
Help the DeBoer-Rowse Family: Hazel Park lesbian couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are suing the state of Michigan for the right to legally wed and thereby co-adopt their three kids. Their case represents a direct, effective and rapid means of securing marriage equality in Michigan.
The state licensed the two nurses as a couple to serve as foster parents of their three special needs children, but Michigan law allows only legally married couples to jointly adopt children. This civil right, afforded all others in Michigan, is not available to the DeBoer-Rowse family due to Michigan’s constitutional ban on the state recognizing marriages of same-gender couples. Because they are prohibited by law to adopt jointly, Rowse adopted their two sons, and DeBoer their daughter.
The law firm Nessel and Kessel is arguing the DeBoer-Rowse family’s case pro bono; however, bringing in expert witnesses to demonstrate to the court that same-gender couples are fit parents is expensive. The lawyers estimate the witnesses and other legal expenses could cost a combined quarter of a million dollars at a minimum. Federal Judge Bernard A. Friedman, of the Eastern District of Michigan, will begin hearing evidence in DeBoer v. Snyder in late February.