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Attorney General enacts equal rights for gay couples

While same-sex couples in Michigan are still not allowed to marry under state law, they continue to press on for their rights. In the meantime, people in non-traditional unions can take advantage of what the law does allow. This may include the forming cohabitation agreements or the participating in gay and lesbian adoption. No matter how each couple chooses to address the situation, most still hope that the trend will continue to allow more rights to gay or lesbian partners.

The United States Attorney General recently indicated that the federal government will provide equal rights to same-sex couples within the realm of the U.S. Justice Department. The changes will be made effective in three primary areas including criminal proceedings, federal prisons and bankruptcies. Gay and lesbian couples will receive the same treatment as their heterosexual counterparts even when living in states, like Michigan, that do not currently recognize gay marriage.

Among the changes, the marital privilege law which prevents one spouse from incriminating another in criminal trial will now be applied to same-sex couples. For any gay person in a federal prison, his or her spouse will receive standard spousal visitation rights. The imprisoned spouse will also be eligible for release for a spouse’s illness or funeral, as directed by law for all married persons. Joint bankruptcies can be filed and any debts to former same-sex spouses will be factored into bankruptcy proceedings.

Gay and lesbian couples around the nation will be able to benefit from these changes. Any Michigan couples who would like more information about this or other rights and laws affecting them may wish to talk to an attorney with experience in this area.

Source: NPR.org, “Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples,” Carrie Johnson, February 8, 2014

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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