Michigan GOP attorneys argue that marriage laws ‘regulate sexual relationships’ and ensure procreation

In an eyebrow-raising argument, attorneys representing Michigan GOP governor Rick Snyder claim that the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage is necessary to “regulate sexual relationships.”

The claim was made in opposition to a case that says the state’s ban on same-sex joint adoptions violates the U.S. Constitution. The motion was brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a couple who challenged Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban in addition to challenging the state’s adoption laws.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse have lived together for 6 years.
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse have lived together for 6 years.

The state attorneys claimed that laws defining marriage are meant to “regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.”

They went on to argue that prior to a Massachusetts ruling in 2004 that enforced a right to same-sex marriage in the state, “it was commonly understood that the institution of marriage owed its very existence to society’s vital interest in responsible procreation and child-rearing.”

The state also argued that if the couple wants to overturn the ban, they should be doing it through the means of a ballot initiative rather than turning to courts.

“If Michigan’s definition of marriage is to be changed, and if joint unmarried adoptions are to be authorized, both should be done by the people of the state of Michigan,” the state’s brief argued.

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