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Strong feelings on both sides after judge strikes down same-sex marriage ban

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Friday was an historic day in Michigan as a federal judge threw out the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse were at the center of the lawsuit, fighting for the right to adopt each other's children, among other things.

After a two-week trial, and two weeks of deliberation, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman issued his ruling just before 5:00 p.m Friday.

The conclusion to the 31-page filing reads in part:

"In attempting to define this case as a challenge to 'the will of the people,' state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people.

"Today's decision ... affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail."

The ruling is stirring emotions across West Michigan and beyond.

This has far reaching implications and everyone with skin in the game had severe reactions.

Michigan's attorney general, Bill Schuette, filed an appeal immediately after the ruling came down, ensuring that this is definitely not the end of the argument.

Dan Wimsatt and Chris Harris have been waiting for the decision for a long time, but not just for the sake of their marriage.

"We are the parents of two young boys--actually a lot more than two--but two that we adopted, so this has a lot of impact on us personally," Wimsatt said.

But for everyone who's pleased, there are others who are not.

"It's not surprising to me, this judge thought that he had the legal standing to overturn the will of the people before it began or he would have never heard the case," said Former State Representative and current Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Agema says that, beliefs aside, it's a matter of good governing.

"What this really does is blur the lines between the three branches of government," he said. "So you get a judge that's sympathetic to your cause and he can go ahead and make a ruling against the will of the people."

"My thing has always been to respect the differences that others have," Harris said.

But Wimsatt and Harris say, even in our democratic society, not everything can be majority rules.

"We hope that with time and some education they will change their mind," Wimsatt said.

"In the end--in reality for us, no matter what the courts decide this is my husband and I am his husband," Harris said.

The State Attorney General's office has already appealed the ruling but county clerks are able to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couple right away.

Kalamazoo County has already said it will not do that.

On the other end of the spectrum, Washtenaw County says it will open it's doors at 9 tomorrow morning to start issuing marriage licenses.

Muskegon's county clerk and a Unitarian Universalist pastor will also reportedly be giving out marriage licenses and performing ceremonies at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Montgomery Avenue, starting tomorrow morning.