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— A group of African-American pastors and religious leaders has filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court denouncing gay marriage and asking the justices to review Michigan’s same-sex case filed with the nation’s highest court.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide next month whether it will review the case. If the Supreme Court justices hear DeBoer v. Snyder, a ruling could come by June, the end of the court’s term.

The briefs were filed by the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor on behalf of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders. The group has filed other briefs in the case.

The brief, filed last Friday, supports the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the Michigan case, which upheld the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

In the DeBoer case, Hazel Park residents April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are challenging the state’s 10-year-old gay marriage ban. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down the ban March 21 in a lawsuit, which also seeks to overturn the state’s prohibition on same-sex couples adopting each other’s children.

The couple is raising three children, whom they’ve individually adopted. They want the ban on same-sex marriage adoption overturned so they can both be legal parents to their children.

But the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month “the voters of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed” the gay marriage bans in those states.

The pastors’ brief asked the Supreme Court to review the case and uphold the 6th Circuit’s opinion, which affirms the views of 22 million Americans in the states, the brief says.

“This case is about the protection of a state’s right to define marriage as a union between a man and woman,” the brief reads. “The ultimate questions before the court are whether a court can force a state to redefine marriage and whether refusing to redefine marriage denies homosexual individuals a ‘fundamental right’ to marry.”

DeBoer and Rowse have vowed to keep fighting to marry.

“When we first brought this case, we vowed to do anything we had to in order to protect our children and our family, even if that meant having to take our case all the way to the Supreme Court,” DeBoer said recently.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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