A lesbian couple in Michigan has accidentally challenged the US state’s ban on gay marriage.
Looking for legal options to jointly adopt their kids to better protect their futures, the case has inadvertently become the most anticipated development in LGBT people's rights in Michigan.
The state of Michigan will not let the couple jointly adopt Nolan, aged four, Ryanne, three, and Jacob, also three, because they are not married.
While DeBeor and Rowse had no intention to challenge same-sex marriage in the state, Michigan Radio reports, US District Judge Bernard Friedman told them their case could be the key to ending the ban.
Rowse said: '[He] basically looked at the State and said, "so, this hinges on marriage?" And the State said yes. And he said, "so, what it sounds like to me is you guys need to challenge the marriage amendment."
'And we all kind of looked at each other and went, "he did not just suggest we challenge gay marriage?" And, he did.'
DeBoer added: 'This has never been about us getting married. This has been about our rights and our children's rights and protecting them.
‘This is about the kids; people see it as about the kids. When you start talking about the marriage amendment, it’s more about our relationship and what we want, and that gets a little bit scarier because people are a little more opinionated about a marriage, a gay marriage, than they are about children having two parents.’
She also added: ‘It’s hard to explain to them we're not looking for special rights, we're looking for equal rights that you already have and you take for granted.’
The governor of Michigan Rick Snyder has avoided evasive questions in the past on his position of equal marriage, saying he just wants to concentrate on 'jobs and kids'.
The next hearing for the case is next Wednesday (16 October) where the couple will fight for equal marriage and a future for their adopted children.