Couple in Michigan Sue for Retroactive Parental Rights Now that Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

Now that same-sex marriage is legal across the United States, some gay individuals in Michigan are suing for retroactive parental rights by claiming that if it weren't for Michigan's unconstitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage they would have previously gotten married and been afforded certain parental rights that they are now being denied. For example, two lesbians have filed separate lawsuits in Michigan both seeking parenting time with children who were born to their former same-sex partners, reports LGBTQ Nation.

Facts of the Cases

In both cases, the plaintiffs were previously in same-sex relationships with a partner who gave birth to children during the relationship. Both relationships have since ended, and both plaintiffs have been prohibited from seeing "their" children by their ex-partners. One plaintiff was in the same-sex relationship for 15 years during which her partner gave birth to three children, all of which took the plaintiff's last name. The other plaintiff's same-sex relationship lasted for nine years during which time her partner gave birth to one child. Both plaintiffs claim that they are retroactively entitled to parenting benefits associated with marriage due to the fact that Michigan's previous ban on same-sex marriage was recently held to be unconstitutional and that but for this law they would have married their long-term same-sex partners.

The Michigan appeals court heard both cases and ruled that the women are not entitled to any parental rights under state law because they are not the biological mothers, nor were the children at issue born during a marriage. The plaintiffs appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, however, our state's highest court rejected their appeals. It seems likely that the plaintiffs in this case will appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States for relief, so we will have to keep an eye on these cases to see what happens in the future.

Need Legal Advice?

If you live in Michigan and are interested in asserting your legal parental rights, consult with an experienced Michigan child custody lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Michael A. Robbins has years of experience helping both same-sex and heterosexual individuals assert their legal parental rights and obtain favorable child custody orders. To schedule an initial consultation contact our Bloomfield Hills office today at (248) 646-7980.