Despite a previous bill passed by Michigan residents in 2004 that banned marriage between same-sex couples, the United State Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling nullified such bills nationwide and legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states. The court’s decision was a major victory for the LGBT community, but it appears that, despite the ruling, many unanswered questions remain. Clerks in several Michigan counties have already started to issue marriage licenses and many LGBT couples have already taken the plunge and walked down the aisle. However, because Michigan law had previously banned such unions there are still changes that need to be enacted.
For example, as it currently stands, nearly 200 Michigan State laws deal with marriage. Additionally, there are 132 different sections of State law that use the term “wife” and 149 instances in which the term “husband” is used. However, now that same-sex marriage is legal, all of those laws will need to be reviewed and in some cases modified in order to coexist with Supreme Court’s ruling. One of those changes will likely be amending the terminology which is currently used so that it is gender neutral and, thus, inclusive of all types of marriages. Other important issues also still need to be addressed, such as same-sex divorce, child custody and property division.
Aside from the aforementioned issues, there are still matters that must be swiftly addressed, such as what will happen to religious institutions or businesses that refuse to offer their services to same-sex couples because of their ideology or beliefs? One State Senator has proposed a bill that would shield these entities from being prosecuted for their refusal to service to LGBT couples and if this legislation is enacted there will be upheaval in many different industries.
At the moment the possible issues which may emerge in Michigan in regards to the ruling on same-sex marriage seem countless. Many of these issues will resolve themselves while others will surely gain more attention as lawsuits are filed relative to same-sex divorce, child custody and spousal support. If you need help with any family law issue, it is imperative that you contact the Law Offices of Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. in Macomb County for experienced and knowledgeable legal representation. Please call us at (586) 263-1600, or click here to contact us online.