Michigan legal documents designed to protect your family no matter your relationship status



Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in Michigan. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with Michigan law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.

Although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in Michigan are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.

Michigan same-sex partners and family members may experience discrimination in many different ways. Some of them, like snubbing by your family of origin or by complete strangers in a social setting, can’t be dealt with legally; they require a set of adaptive behaviors, including education, humor, and a thick skin. But typical anti-discrimination laws do cover several areas.

Here is a run-down on Michigan law affecting the LGBTQ community:

1 Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment, Michigan Proposal 04-2, that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. It passed with 58.6% of the vote. The Michigan Supreme Court later ruled that public employers in Michigan would not be legally allowed to grant domestic partnership benefits based on the recently passed measure.

A law in effect since December 2011 banned most public employers, though not colleges and universities, from offering health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. It did not extend to workers whose benefits are established by the Michigan Civil Service Commission. Five same-sex couples challenged the law in Bassett v. Snyder citing the state’s refusal to recognize their marriages or refusal to allow them to marry. On June 28, 2013, U.S. District Judge David S. Lawson issued an injunction blocking the state from enforcing its law banning local governments and school districts from offering health benefits to their employees’ domestic partners.

In August 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman invited two lesbians who were challenging the state’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples to amend their suit to challenge the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, “the underlying issue”. They did so on September 7. On March 7, 2013, after hearing arguments in the case, DeBoer v. Snyder, Friedman announced that he would delay ruling pending the outcome of two same-sex marriage cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 1, citing the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, he denied the state officials’ motion to dismiss the suit.[7] According to Friedman, the plaintiffs “are entitled to their day in court.” Oral arguments were held on October 16, 2013, where Friedman announced a hearing would held on February 25, 2014.

2 Adoption Law: Michigan has no statutory ban on same-sex couples adopting, however state courts have ruled that unmarried individuals may not jointly petition to adopt.

Two Michigan lesbians, who are raising three children adopted by only one of them, filed a lawsuit in federal court in January 2012 seeking to have the state’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples overturned. and in September amended that suit to challenge the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as well. In December 2012, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s adoption code permits second parent adoptions by same-sex couples.

3 Anti-Discrimination Law: In March 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed an emergency harbor dredging funding bill that made private marinas ineligible for a new loan program if they discriminate based on sexual orientation. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is also prohibited in government employment, but there are no other state-wide protections. Nearly thirty local municipalities have local human rights ordinances which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment and housing.

In March 2013, the Royal Oak City Commission voted 6-1 to enact a human rights ordinance inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation. Opponents collected more than 1,000 petition signatures to override the commission’s vote and put the issue before Royal Oak voters in the November 2013 election. Royal Oak voters rejected a similar human rights ordinance in 2001 by a 2-1 margin, with nearly 9,000 voting against it.

Sexual orientation is recognized for data collection about hate crimes in Michigan. According to two gay rights groups, anti-gay hate crimes had a 133% increase in 2008.

4 Sodomy Law: Sexual acts between persons of the same sex are legal in Michigan. They had been criminalized until the state’s sodomy laws, which applied to both homosexuals and heterosexuals, were invalidated in 2003 by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

5Public Opinion: A 2013 Glengariff Group poll found that 57% of Michigan residents support same-sex marriage while 38% oppose.
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