Although 37 states and Washington D.C. already recognized same-sex marriages before the historic Supreme Court ruling on June 26, 2015, Michigan was not one of them. Without legal recognition, a same-sex couple did not have the rights, privileges and protections associated with marriage, such as health care coverage, adoption and Social Security survivor benefits. Although a marriage license is now available to couples of any gender, opponents predict that the decision will only lead to more litigation.
While people across the state were celebrating, religious officials and many in the Michigan Republican Party are calling the ruling to strike down same-sex marriage bans “unfortunate,” “immoral” and “unjust.” Although it is unlikely that legislation passed to diminish the effects of the ruling would stand, many have hinted that measures may be proposed anyway.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder spoke out in support of the landmark decision, stating that full compliance would be given by all state agencies. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette had upheld the ban on same-sex marriages before the decision, but he also acknowledged the legality of the opinion officially, stating that the decision is clear and final. Not only does this ruling affect same-sex couples, the benefits of marriage now extend to the children of these unions, changing the way the law recognizes their families.
Other states have already acclimated to many of the changes facing same-sex couples in Michigan. For example, a child born to a person in a same-sex marriage is legally considered the child of both parents. An attorney in Michigan who is familiar with the laws regarding same-sex marriages may be able to offer advice to couples facing domestic issues.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage,” Todd Spangler, June 26, 2015