Mich. pair’s legal fight to end in ‘fairy tale’ wedding

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Southfield — A Hazel Park couple’s four-year journey to be legally married will end Saturday when April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse tie the knot in a private ceremony.

The pair helped change history by going to court for the right to adopt each other’s children, culminating in the June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that voided bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan and nationwide.

“It’s truly a love story. We finally get our fairy-tale ending and we get to protect our kids,” DeBoer said Wednesday.

About 300 of the couple’s family, friends and supporters will witness the nuptials at a local banquet hall. “It’s a chance to show the world we are a committed couple with kids,” said Rowse, whose birthday is Friday.

DeBoer will wear a cream-colored wedding dress and will be walked down the aisle by the couple’s two daughters. Rowse, who will wear a tuxedo, will be escorted by the couple’s two sons.

They have chosen “Lost In You” as their wedding song, which country star Garth Brooks recorded under the name Chris Gaines.

Rowse and DeBoer met 15 years ago and have been together for 11 years.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman will officiate at the ceremony.

Friedman issued the initial ruling against Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in March 2014, after an eight-day trial in a federal lawsuit brought by the couple challenging the state’s adoption code.

That legal fight eventually morphed into a challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, approved by voters in 2004.

Friedman ruled Michigan’s Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional. The state appealed, and the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Michigan ban last November, along with similar legislation in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Friedman said he is as excited about the upcoming wedding as DeBoer and Rowse.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he told The News. “I’m really excited for them and me, frankly. ... I really never met them. I want to know more about them. I want to know about their love for one another.”