Does the Non-biological Gay Parent Who Never Married the Biological Parent Have Parental Rights Now That Gay Marriage is Legal?

Michigan Mother and Partner were in a stable gay relationship for thirteen years. At the time, Michigan did not recognize gay marriage.

Still, Mother and Partner wore wedding rings, purchased properties together, and otherwise acted like a married couple.

Four years into their relationship, Mother gave birth to their first daughter and three years later, their second. Both daughters’ legal last names consisted of a hyphenation of both Mother’s and Partner’s last names.

Both women parented their daughters actively and equally. And the daughters address both women as “mom”.

Eventually, the romantic relationship between Mother and Partner came to an end though. But they continued to co-parent their daughters.

Until Mother’s new partner’s new job necessitated a move to a new city, and Mother wanted to relocate with their daughters.

Partner sought to enforce her parenting rights through the Michigan family court. Only, up until this point, Michigan law has not actually recognized any parental rights or adoption rights of a non-biological gay parent.

Partner is hoping that the US Supreme Court’s recent recognition of gay marriage rights will spill over to parental rights of a gay non-biological parent.

But, Mother and Partner never went the whole nine yards of legally marrying in other states – or Canada – where gay marriage was recognized either. Some believe this may sway the Michigan family court.