GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Apartment Lounge is like a lot of small businesses. It was built by a couple who kept both the business and their relationship together through the good times and bad.
That couple is Milt Lennox and Edward Ladner. They've been together 49 years. They're hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will render decisions favorable to same-sex marriage.
"It would be the frosting on the cake," said Ladner, who along with Lennox sold the Apartment last year. "Yes. That would make our lives complete."
Meanwhile in Allendale, Pastor Steve Demers of Lighthouse Community Church works to keep his congregation together after a contentious split with the Reformed Church in America over Demers' stand against homosexuality.
"It has been liberating. Our attendance has gone up," said Demers from his new office in an complex just down the street from his former church building.
The three men are watching the current debate in the US Supreme Court regarding California's Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act with great interest.
Justices are expected to decided the cases -- both of which oppose same-sex marriage -- based on the law. But the court of public opinion shows increasing support for same-sex marriage in Michigan.
Keeping in mind that these are the opinions of people formed at the moment of a phone call, a survey taken last summer by Michigan State University shows out of 1,015 Michigan residents who responded, 56% supported gay marriage while 39% opposed it.
A similar survey in 2010 had 51% opposed to and 48% in support of same-sex marriage.
Voters supported a statewide ban on gay marriage in 2004.
For Ladner, Lennox and other gay couples, the debate is over their right to live and enjoy the benefits straight couples have always enjoyed.
"Ed and I have been very, very fortunate. We're accepted in both worlds. There's no question about it. But that's not so with a lot of the guys and the woman that we have waited on," said Lennox.
For Demers, the debate is about scripture. He and others believe God's words are being ignored, sending society in the wrong direction.
"If you don't use the scripture as a guide, what's wrong with adultery? What's wrong with polygamy? You really have no moral argument left to stand on anything," said Demers.
The pastor dismisses the notion that same-sex couples can love and create lives as well as heterosexual families.
"God would say otherwise. He designed there to be a father and mother and to be nurturing our children. And so it's really a restructuring of society," he said.
But Lennox sees the religious debate in another way.
"I'm going to tell you something: We've been behind that bar 41 years. I know hypocrisy when I see it," he said.
Arguments on both sides are expected to continue in Washington Wednesday. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in June.
2012 survey from MSU
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