Heterosexual couples have the full weight of the law behind them when family law issues like divorce, adoption and child custody arise. Michigan is still divided on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is leaving some state residents at risk. The American Civil Liberties Union has finally stepped in and is taking up the cause to prevent further discrimination against these legally married couples who reside in the state.
On March 21, 2014, a U.S. District judge in Detroit made a ruling that made the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Four state counties opened up their offices on a weekend to allow same-sex couples to take advantage of the ruling and obtain legal marriage licenses. Roughly 300 couples obtained their licenses before Cincinnati’s 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling.
Michigan’s governor has reported that despite the fact that the marriage licenses were obtained legally, some of the state’s agencies are not recognizing the marriages under the current law. This can impact these same-sex couples in a number of family issues, especially cases involving child custody and adoption.
A spokesperson for the ACLU has reported that the organization plans to sue the state to force its agencies to recognize these marriages as legal entities, despite the state’s current laws. More details were expected to be announced at a future date.
Whether the state or any of its agencies agrees with same-sex marriage or not, the fact is that these marriages are legal and in accordance with all of the state laws at the time. Any children of these families could be put at risk in the future if the state does not recognize the marriages, since issues like custody, visitation or even child support may not be enforced or acted upon. This is sure to entail a protracted legal battle that can have great future significance in the fate of same-sex couples in Michigan.
MyFoxDetroit.com, “ACLU suing for 300 new same-sex Michigan couples” No author given, Apr. 14, 2014