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Michigan couple that challenged gay marriage ban to wed

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Jayne Rowse

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. » April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse — the two Michigan women who legally challenged the state’s ban on gay marriage — exchanged vows Saturday during a ceremony in suburban Detroit.

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman, who overturned the state’s ban in 2014, performed their wedding at a banquet hall in Southfield.

Between 250 and 300 family members and friends attended the wedding. DeBoer wore a cream-colored wedding dress and Rowse a black tuxedo. With their children and DeBoer’s father as escorts, they walked down the aisle to late Beatle George Harrison’s "Here Comes The Sun."

"Little did I know that you would bring me four beautiful kids … and drag me into the Supreme Court," DeBoer said, the crowd laughing as she read her vows. "I am honored to soon be your legal wife."

DeBoer and Rowse, both hospital nurses, are raising four adopted children at their Hazel Park home. The children read their own vows during the wedding and said they would take each woman as their "legal mommy."

In 2012, the couple sued the state, which at the time barred them from jointly adopting each other’s children because same-sex couples couldn’t marry in Michigan. Their case grew into a challenge to a 2004 Michigan constitutional amendment that recognized marriage only between a man and a woman.

About 300 same-sex couples were married last year when gay marriage was allowed in Michigan for about 24 hours. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court said same-sex couples have a right to marry.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan would follow the law and that state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure full compliance.

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