Michigan Has a Lot of Work to do in 2016 Relating to Same Sex Marriage

Michigan residents passed a bill in 2004 banning marriage between same sex couples, which was struck down by the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states. Although the decision was a major victory for the gay and lesbian community, there are still many changes that need to be enacted under Michigan law to fully comply with the ruling of the Court.

Michigan Law

Because Michigan outlawed same sex marriage in 2004, there are many laws still on the books that now run afoul of the law of the land as pronounced by the Supreme Court in Obergefell. There are also more than 130 sections of Michigan law that use the term "wife" and almost 150 that use the word "husband." All of these uses now need to be reviewed and in most cases, modified to be gender-neutral and inclusive of all marriages to comply with the ruling in Obergefell. Same sex divorce, custody, and property division also need to be addressed in the Michigan statutes.

Other Considerations

There are issues outside of statutory ones that must also be addressed in the coming year. One of the major issues looming in Michigan and across the country is what will happen to businesses or religious institutions that refuse service to same sex couples based on their personal religious beliefs. We have seen this play out on the national stage over the past several months with Kim Davis, the county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

One Michigan state senator, for example, has already proposed a bill that would shield any business or religious entity from prosecution if it refuses to provide services to LGBT couples based on its personally-held religious beliefs. This type of backlash will continue and similar bills are expected in the upper and lower house of the Michigan legislature. It is unlikely these bills will have any effect in the long run, however, as the governor and attorney general of Michigan have already announced their intention to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling.

Call The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins

It is not possible at this time to envision all of the potential issues that are likely to emerge in Michigan and other states in the aftermath of Obergefell. Many of these issues will resolve themselves while others will undoubtedly gain more attention, even national attention, as lawsuits are filed relative to same-sex divorce, child custody, and spousal support. If you need help with any same-sex family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to schedule an initial consultation with attorney Michael A. Robbins. Call (248) 646-7980 or contact him online to discuss the specifics of your case. Located in Bloomfield Hills, Mr. Robbins accepts cases in the tri-county area of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties and throughout the state.