Michigan Attorney General Calls for Regulation of Sexual Relationships

Equality Michigan LogoLANSING – Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, has filed a brief in response to a motion for summary judgement in the Deboer v Snyder and Schuette case currently before Judge Friedman in the Eastern District Court of Michigan. The case was brought by a lesbian couple suing for the right to legally file joint adoption for their children. Currently second-parent adoptions are not permitted in Michigan. Last summer, the judge expanded the scope of the case beyond adoptions to include the issue of same-gender marriages in Michigan.

In his September 9th filing, the Attorney General’s office stated that “one of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan — and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman — is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.”

Equality Michigan, the only statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization serving Michigan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, has participated in two amicus briefs supporting the couple in this case’s right both to adopt and marry. The organization has a multi-year initiative underway aimed at bringing family and marriage equality to LGBT families in Michigan.

Statement by Emily Dievendorf Managing Director, Equality Michigan

“This absurd overreach is a desperate move by a man with too much power. Attorney General Shuette’s insistence on government in our personal lives is hypocritical, and in conflict with the Supreme Court of the United States. Ten years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, and this past summer when it ruled against DOMA, it found that regulating sex for the purpose of procreation is not a role for our government. Marriage is about more than just procreation, as the Supreme Court said this June, ‘marriage is a way for couples to define themselves by their commitment to each other.’ Suggesting the benefit of marriage is limited to just producing children is more insulting and damaging to the institution of marriage than anything Schuette fears. The notion that people who cannot, or choose not to, have children are not worthy of committing their life to another person is preposterous.”

“If it were not so harmful, it would be amusingly ironic that an attorney general whose party supports deregulation, smaller government is demanding this larger regulatory role for government in our daily lives. This brief also flies in the face of any family values platform. In the United States the share of unmarried couples has increased by 25% over the last decade and in 2012 there were 56,315 marriages and 39,892 divorces in Michigan – both statistics largely representing opposite-sex couples. If Attorney General Shuette wishes to preserve the institution of marriage, he should be allowing and encouraging both same and opposite-sex couples to opt in. The attorney general is fooling nobody on this most recent attempt to stop progress for LGBT families. In truth, as long as the law is tied to marriage the lack of marriage equality creates instability on every level and that is no good for anybody.”

Via press release