June 14, 2013

Same-sex couples face parenting challenges in Michigan

Michigan law currently does not recognize marriage between two individuals of the same sex, but it does not restrict such couples from successfully adopting and raising a child. This can make it frustrating and difficult for gay couples who want to start families in the state, as Michigan only grants certain parental rights to one of the parents.

Some same-sex couples have found effective ways to circumvent Michigan’s legal system and acquire the rights they need to make medical decisions for their child, sign him or her out of school or daycare, or take advantage of other perks typically enjoyed by adoptive parents. However, many couples cannot afford such protections, and all Michigan same-sex couples still lack a number of rights and priveleges granted to biological parents. As such, many gay couples say it is exceedingly difficult to provide a loving and safe environment for their children uder current conditions.

For instance, most gay or lesbian couples are left helpless in the event that the adoptive parent passes away. Michigan courts continue to refuse to grant second parent adoption. One Michigan state representative recently introduced legislation aimed at allowing state judges to approve adotptions to same-sex couples when it is clear that such an arrangement would serve the child’s best interests.

While the proposed law has attracted support from a number of civi rights, several previous incarnations of the legislation have failed to pass. Experts say that public opinion in the state is still hesistant at the idea that two individuals of the same sex could serve as effective and loving parents. Analysts estimate that thousands of same sex couples accross the state are waiting for the legal recognition they need to best protect their children’s interests.

Michigan’s laws concerning child custody and parental rights can be quite complrx for someone unfamiliar with state laws regarding thesse issues. Any individual interested in obtaining better parental rights should contact experienced legal professsionals to learn more about their options.

Source:  Michigan Radio, “For gay and lesbian families in Michigan, one parent is left out” Lester Graham, Jun. 10, 2013