Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Scotland readies marriage equality bill, Michigan (sort of) recognizes same-sex couple’s marriage

Marriage equality

By Jacob CombsScottish flag

Scotland’s government will introduce a marriage equality bill next month, according to Gay Star News, setting up a timeline that could allow for marriages by fall 2014.

As we reported last summer, the left-leaning majority Scottish National Party (SNP) had been expected to announce plans for marriage equality legislation but punted instead, saying it needed more time to include religious protections into the measure.

A public consultation conducted by the government on marriage rights had garnered 77,508 responses–the most in Scotland’s history–but the SNP announced it would be conducing a further consultation on the religious liberties issue.  A public comment period on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) bill closed in March, but the results of the bill’s comment period have not been made public.

Once the legislation is formally introduced, it will be considered by the members of Scottish parliament (MSPs).  Speaking to the MSPs, Health Secretary Alex Neil said, “Obviously we have given a commitment to introduce this legislation after the extensive consultation we have had as quickly as possible, which is what we’re doing.  I would hope the timetabling would be such that we could see this Bill become law sooner rather than later.”

Here in the United States, one same-sex couple in Michigan has taken a novel–and perhaps futile–approach to the state’s draconian marriage equality ban.  According to, Chris Swope and Bradly Rakowski filed their marriage license with the Ingham County Register of Deeds as proof of joint custody for their house.  Under Michigan law, unmarried individuals are not entitled to inherit their partner’s assets if one of them dies.

Curtis Hertel Jr., an employee at the Ingham County Register of Deeds, went looking through Michigan’s marriage laws for such a loophole after receiving calls from gay and lesbian individuals whose partners had died.  Although Swope and Rakowski were not prohibited from filing the license by law, it remains to be seen whether the courts will recognize the document if a suit should ever be brought.  “We are breaking new ground,” Hertel told WILX.  “We’ve never shied away from controversy.”

Michigan has some of the most stringent laws in the country against legal recognition of same-sex couples’ unions.  In addition to its marriage equality ban, the state Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that public universities in the state could not offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.  As the AP noted in its piece, because of that ruling and the 2004 amendment, many public employers in the state have transitioned to offering benefits for “other eligible individuals” in employees’ households, a classification that could include–but does not specifically reference–gay partners.

In 2011, Gov. Snyder signed a law that prohibited health benefits for domestic partners of public employees, although the provision did not apply to public universities.  That law has been challenged in court.  Another LGBT rights lawsuit, DeBoer v. Snyder, is currently pending in a federal district court in Michigan.  In that case, Judge Bernard Friedman invited the plaintiffs to amend their complaint–which had originally focused only on adoption rights–to challenge Michigan’s marriage equality ban.  In March, Judge Friedman placed the case on hold until a final decision by the Supreme Court in the Prop 8 case and the Windsor challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.


  • 1. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  May 30, 2013 at 8:02 am

    […] in the country against legal recognition of same-sex couples’ unions.  Just yesterday, we reported on one couple’s attempt to protect their relationship in spite of the state’s […]

  • 2. essay services  |  December 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Everybody like marriage and i have to read culture about United states and people have to make there relation with each other and we are providing essay about relations.

  • 3. All about psychiatry  |  February 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    notwithstanding its marriage uniformity boycott, the state Supreme Court decided in 2008 that open colleges in the state couldn't offer domesticated association profits to same-sex couples.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!