In the wake of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and a federal judge’s ruling that overturned a Michigan state law prohibiting Michigan public employees in same-sex domestic partnerships from getting the same benefits given to heterosexual couples, many Michigan residents may be wondering what all this means for same-sex couples and any children they may have in the state. At the present time, the DOMA ruling does not impact Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, there is case before a U.S. District Court judge regarding the status of same-sex marriage in Michigan. The case was brought by a same-sex couple who claim that Michigan’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage not only creates inequalities for them but also for their children. In this case, both the women are nurses and one woman has two adopted children, while her partner has one adopted child. All the children are being raised under one roof as siblings.
Under current Michigan state law only the adoptive parent has guardian rights. The same-sex couple argues that because of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage the children are denied inheritance and insurance benefits. Further, in the event one woman was to die, there is no guarantee that the surviving same-sex partner will be granted custody of the other child or children. However, the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA offered some specific language pertaining to what children of same-sex couples are afforded under the law.
Nevertheless, at this stage, it is unclear how the U.S. District Court Judge will rule on this particular case. For any same-sex couples who are interested in understanding how the most recent court rulings impact them and their children, it may be helpful to look for more information.
Source: MLive, “Gay Metro Detroit couple waits to see if their lawsuit will reverse Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage,” Gus Burns, June 29, 2013