By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Same-sex couples in Michigan can serve as foster parents, but if they wish to adopt a child together, current state laws say they can’t. This is because, by law, Michigan couples need to be married in order to adopt a child. And same-sex marriage in Michigan is still prohibited after a U.S. Appeals Court upheld the state’s ban, although 300 couples who were married during a brief legal window are now recognized by the state. Kathleen Nelson, executive director of the Michigan adoption agency Hands Across the Water, said a person’s LGBT status does not make a difference when it comes to one’s adequacy as a parent. “It’s an individual person thing,” Nelson said.
By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – A bill in the legislature, public support and an expected federal ruling may soon tip the balance in favor of unmarried couples looking to adopt children together. Such second parent adoptions can involve heterosexual unmarried couples but most cases involve same-sex couples, who cannot legally marry in Michigan. Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, sponsored a bill in January to explicitly allow unmarried couples to become joint parents. “If the only adoptive parent becomes incapacitated or passes away, the child goes back into foster care instead of with the only other parent they’ve known,” Irwin said. “It undermines the other parent’s right to make medical and financial decisions.”
By Matthew Pizzo
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
For Stephanie Kirtz and Emily Kimmel, a day that began with hope ended in disappointment. “We couldn’t sleep the night before,” Kirtz said. “It’s disheartening when the state where you live and call home for years doesn’t accept you and your lifestyle.”
They, like Same-sex couples across Michigan, lined up outside of county clerks’ offices Wednesday with the hope of marrying. Instead, federal Judge Bernard Friedman announced Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage would stay for now. Gregory Varnum, director of external relations at Equality Michigan, said that Friedman announced there will be a trial Feb.