ACLU Statement Regarding Amendment to Second Parent Adoption Lawsuit

September 07, 2012

DETROIT – The following statement was issued by Kary L. Moss, executive director, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan in response to a lawsuit amended today challenging Michigan’s second-parent adoption practices and anti-marriage amendment.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Oakland County lesbian couple who have been together 10 years and who would like to both share legal responsibility for their children. A second-parent adoption allows one partner in an unmarried couple to adopt the other partner’s child; this can occur in both gay and straight relationships.

While originally this lawsuit only dealt with the question of second parent adoption, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman suggested last week that the couple challenge the state’s anti-marriage amendment. The new complaint was filed today.

The following can be attributed to Kary L. Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan:

“At the end of the day, this case is about protecting Michigan families. Every child deserves security and support and no child should be at risk of being ripped away from the only home they’ve ever known because a judge does not approve of their parents’ sexual orientation.

“Parents want what is best for their child and have a responsibility to care for them. If a parent, as in this case, wants to share legal responsibility for their own children, and thinks that having a second legally connected parent is in the best interest of their child, the law should not prevent them from making that decision.

“We agree with the plaintiffs that Michigan’s anti-marriage amendment, which excludes same-sex couples, not only from marriage, but from civil unions, domestic partnerships, and even domestic partner health care, violates the federal constitution and harms families. But the most important thing in this case is to ensure that this couple can take care of their family and the best way to do that is for judge to resolve their second-parent adoption claim.

“Our goal continues to be undoing marriage bans through the ballot process and legal challenges that will be successful across the nation."