ACLU of Michigan and Concerned Attorneys Object to Chief Judge's Directive

June 11, 2002

Detroit - Today the ACLU of Michigan, together with concerned attorneys, asked Archie C. Brown, Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court, to rescind a directive that he issued on June 4, 2002 to judges within his district. The directive orders those judges to not process petitions for second parent adoptions, including any petitions that are currently pending.

In the letter, the ACLU questioned Judge Brown’s authority to issue such a directive without an actual case before him.  The letter states: “The chief circuit court judge is an administrator, not a ‘roaming appellate court, and cannot substitute his judgment for that of other judges in the circuit whenever he sees fit.” 

ACLU Executive Director Kary Moss said: “It is completely inappropriate for a judge to interpret the law without an actual case before the court.  This is law by fiat and completely contrary to our system of justice which depends on each judge considering the facts before him or her and hearing arguments from both sides.” 

In his directive, Judge Brown admits that he arrived at his decision after soliciting the opinion of only one adoption specialist attorney.       

The letter also states that Judge Brown erred by not considering the best interests of  children, as Michigan’s Adoption law requires, but only the legal status of the parents’ relationship. Because second parent adoptions are so clearly in the best interests of children, every major child welfare organization in the country supports them. See, e.g., American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Technical Report: Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents (available at aap.org); American Psychological Association (APA), Lesbian and Gay Parenting: A Resource for Psychologists. 

Read the letter.

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