The Deboer Rowse Fund
Help the fight for equal rights
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are fighting for their family in the state of Michigan, which has some of the nation’s most stringent and regressive laws and policies in the country.
April, Jayne, and their supporters are working to overturn Michigan’s Marriage Amendment, approved by voters in 2004, which prohibits gays and lesbians from a legal marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, as well as alter Michigan’s adoption code that currently denies rights and benefits to the children of gay/lesbian couples.
Judge Friedman has ordered that the case go to trial. The trial is scheduled to begin on February 25, 2014, and will be similar to the trial conducted in opposition to the Proposition 8 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage held in California. The primary issue in dispute is whether gay and lesbian couples are competent and qualified to parent children, and whether or not the state of Michigan is justified in prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting, marrying, and forming legal families.
We are asking for your help. If anyone is interested in doing fundraising of any kind for the case, or knows of anyone who specializes in fundraising and would be willing to assist us in this, it would be so helpful for our case. Alternatively, if everyone who supports the idea of equal rights for gay and lesbian families in Michigan would make just a small contribution, it would go so far towards furthering a cause that will benefit everyone.
If you would like to make a small donation you can use your Paypal account. If you don’t have Paypal all major credit cards are accepted. Please click on the GoFundMe link below.
If you’d like to make a donation via check, please make the check payable to Deboer-Rowse Fund and mail it to Deboer-Rowse Fund c/o Nessel and Kessel Law, 4300 Penobscot Bldg, 645 Griswold, Detroit, MI 48226. And remember to like our Facebook page at Michigan Marriage Challenge. (Please note donations are not tax-deductible.)
About April and Jayne
April and Jayne have been in a committed relationship for over a decade, and together are raising three special-needs children. DeBoer, a neo-natal intensive care nurse, and Rowse, an emergency room nurse, became licensed as a couple to be foster parents. Within a year and a half, they welcomed three newborns who had been abandoned or surrendered at birth. The children faced long-term physical and mental impairments due to prematurity, little or no prenatal care, maternal drug use, and other complications.
April and Jayne love their children as deeply as any other parent loves their kids, and want their children to have the same protections all other children have, including knowing they can never be taken from their family and each other.
DeBoer and Rowse’s desire to jointly adopt all three children would establish each parent’s legal claim and relationship to their children. Currently one has adopted two of the children and the other has adopted one. Unfortunately the Michigan Adoption Code prohibits joint adoption for their kids and thousands of other children in households like theirs across the state, violating their right to Equal Protection under the United States Constitution. The law is discriminatory, irrational, and only has the effect of hurting children and destabilizing families.
In addition to the impact on committed couples, in effect, the children of gays and lesbians in Michigan are forbidden from having two parents. Michigan is one of only a handful of states left in the country that allows no mechanism for the legal recognition of two parents of the same sex, meaning that whether same-sex couples adopt or one of the partners conceives a child biologically, only one partner can ever have a legally recognized relationship with that child.
About the case
Although the initial complaint filed on behalf of April, Jayne, and their children against the State of Michigan in January of 2012 intended to secure these rights, at the behest of Judge Friedman, the pleadings were amended to challenge the same-sex marriage ban, significantly expanding the scope of the case. As one of the most draconian bans in the nation, the amendment effectively prohibits any type of legal recognition or benefits for same-sex couples in Michigan
Ironically, the State of Michigan found these women capable enough to put their blood, sweat, and tears into raising these children together as foster parents. To now deny them the opportunity to both become legal parents to the children they love, and who are the only parents they have ever known, is totally irrational, and serves no legitimate purpose.
Please help April and Jayne pursue this case as long as they are able.
Here are some news stories with more information about this important case: