Nessel Talks to Students about Supreme Court Win, Next Fight (video)

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopNessel Talks to Students CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2about Supreme Court Win, Next Fight (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 16, 2015)

When the case of DeBoer v. Snyder made it to the Supreme Court and found success among other cases securing the right of same-sex couples to marry, it happened because of many people coming together to argue, fund, collaborate, research and fight on Attorney Dana Nessel’s team.

Among those who helped were over 20 Wayne State University law students who volunteered their time to read Amicus briefs on both sides to give summaries to the attorneys for the candlewickshoppeADblueplaintiffs. Those students and others had a chance to meet with Nessel and Attorney and WSU Law Professor Robert Sedler on Monday to lean more about the case.

Sedler introduced Nessel, who is an alumni of WSU Law having graduated in 1994. Sedler had been one of her teachers when she attended, and was a great resource for Nessel before joining the team. They worked with Attorneys Carol Stanyar, Ken Mogill, and many others to represent Hazel Park couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse.

The couple originally sued for second parent adoption rights, but the case took an unexpected turn down the path to marriage equality. Nessel explained the process in her lunchtime speech to the students.sideADpink

Though the story of the trial was told, Nessel also focused on the students and encouraging them to do the right things in their careers. She held up her State Bar of Michigan Attorney Bar Card and said “What this does, it’s sort of like a key. It allows you to move forward… When you see something in this state or in this country that you think is wrong, and you see people that are being discriminated against and you say to yourself, why doesn’t somebody do something about it? …The thing about having this card is it does allow you be the person to step forward and do something to help create a little more justice in this world.”

Her description of the case kept the students riveted, invoking laughter at times, sadness at lisa schmidt lawothers.  The takeaway was not just a celebration of victory, but the sense that there is much more work to be done. She talked about the calls she gets now, from people who lost their jobs or their homes after legally getting married. There is even a situation where a doctor refused to treat a baby because the baby had two moms.

“There’s so much more that’s needed, and that’s protections for LGBT people in education, employment, housing and public accommodations,” she said. Nessel is now the co-chair of Fair Michigan, a group hoping to add gender, sexual orientation and gender expression to the list of reasons one cannot be discriminated against into the State Constitution. The effort is being backed by people on all sides of the political spectrum because of the economic benefits as well as the human ones. To learn more about this effort, see

To hear Nessel’s presentation and introduction by Sedler, see the video below:


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