Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Declared Unconstitutional

Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down as UnconstitutionalThe day that many Michigan residents have been waiting for has arrived. On March 21, 2014, after an 8 day trial, Federal District Court Judge Bernard Friedman (a Reagan appointee) has declared the Michigan Marriage Act (MMA) unconstitutional. While the effect of the decision was stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 22, 2014, the opinion itself will be difficult to overturn. (more…)

Custody for LGBT Families is Complicated. Here’s Why.

Michigan Considers Marriage EqualityThe Michigan Marriage Equality trial started Tuesday in the United States District Court in Detroit. It is scheduled to continue for 8 days and is focusing so far on the ability and challenges for LGBT couples raising children. The Free Press summarized Wednesday’s testimony by University of Michigan law professor Vivek Sankaran, saying

“When a parent in a same-sex relationship dies, the surviving partner faces a quagmire of legal hurdles to gain custody of any kids.”

Here’s why.

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Michigan Marriage Equality Goes to Trial

Michigan Marriage Equality on TrialAfter months of preparation, DeBoer v. Snyder, the federal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage and adoption is going to trial. Federal District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman has set aside 8 full days for testimony and arguments starting Tuesday, February 25, 2014. What can we expect over the next two weeks? And how will the court’s decision affect the rights of LGBT citizens of Michigan? (more…)

Could Virginia Pave the Way for Marriage Equality in Michigan?

Could Virginia Predict Michigan Marriage Equality?Virginia has rocketed into center stage for LGBT rights in 2014, and on February 13, it joined the swelling ranks of states where gay marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional. Virginia’s laws are very similar to Michigan. So could the Virigina ruling give a glimpse of what is to come from the DeBoer v. Schuette trial, scheduled for February 25, 2014. (more…)

Court Orders Sex-Change Operation for Trans Prisoner

file0001337619318A Federal Court of Appeals determined that sex reassignment surgery is medically necessary for one transgendered prisoner in Maryland. By denying it, the prison violated her 8th Amendment rights. This ruling could provide a legal leg up to trans inmates nationwide. But the court’s reliance on the terms “disorder” and “medical necessity” could rub some advocates the wrong way. (more…)

Court Grants Protected Status to LGBT Jurors

Court Grants Heightened Scrutiny to LGBT PeopleLast year’s Supreme Court Decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was seen immediately as a huge win for the LGBT community. But one thing missing was the explicit identification of gays and lesbians as a protected class of people. Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that protection actually was in there, you just have to read between the lines. (more…)

The Challenges for Trans People in Court

RSCN0047Going to court for the first time can be intimidating for anyone. But it can be particularly challenging for trans men and women, or those who fall outside of traditional gender expressions. Whether due to ignorance, insensitivity, or simply a lack of updated policy, members of the trans community will often face confusion and difficulty interacting with police, court staff, and even judges. (more…)

Royal Oak, Federal Government Consider Employment Discrimination

1377017_534909036603247_882191193_nThe city of Royal Oak and the U.S. Senate both made important decisions last week to protect sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. But while the vote decided the issue in Royal Oak in favor of greater workplace protections, the federal bill has a long way to go. (more…)

How New Jersey Could Help Michigan Marriage Equality

girlsThe Michigan LGBT community is still holding its breath for a ruling in favor of gay marriage and gay adoption in the state. The hearing this month ended with a trial date set for February and a lot of cancelled wedding plans. But the delay could actually strengthen the case. And a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Jersey might provide Judge Friedman with the rationale he needs to rule in favor of marriage equality. (more…)

Coming Out As An Ally For National Coming Out Day

file0001433602003My name is Lisa Schmidt, and I am an ally.

I have chosen to support my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender family and friends because, to me this issue is not, nor has it ever been about sex. It’s not about what happens behind closed bedroom doors or supposedly “immoral acts.” I support my friends in the LGBT community because I believe in fairness, justice and love. (more…)