University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Blankenship v. Snyder PB-MI-0009
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-12221 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On June 5, 2014, a same-sex couple in Michigan challenged the state's refusal to recognize their marriage, filing a claim against the state pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Following the United States Supreme Court's ... read more >
On June 5, 2014, a same-sex couple in Michigan challenged the state's refusal to recognize their marriage, filing a claim against the state pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Following the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, plaintiffs had traveled to the State of New York and gotten married under state law. Upon returning, Michigan did not recognize this marriage.

Specifically, Michigan Public Act 324 had invalidated by statute all same-sex marriages in Michigan, and Michigan Public Act 334 prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions (both statutes were passed in 1996). Additionally, the 2004 Michigan Marriage Amendment essentially codified these restrictions into the state's constitution. One of the plaintiffs here is legal parent to an adopted child, but the couple is prevented from joint adoption in Michigan because of their unrecognized marriage. Plaintiffs allege that this deprives their child of many benefits associated with recognition of a legal family unit and deprives the couple of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On February 10, 2015, the court (Judge Arthur J. Tarnow) granted a stay in this case, pending the U.S. Supreme Court resolution of DeBoer v. Snyder. The latter case, while not featuring a couple with a marriage recognized in a different jurisdiction, also challenges the constitutionality of the Michigan Public Acts at issue here as well as the Michigan Marriage amendment. DeBoer v. Snyder invalidated Michigan's same-sex marriage restrictions at the district court level, was reversed by the 6th Circuit, and is scheduled to be heard in a consolidated action before the United States Supreme Court in April of 2015; a decision is anticipated in June of 2015.

Eric Cole - 03/30/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) State of Michigan
Plaintiff Description Same-sex Michigan couple, parents to two children, seeking recognition of their New York marriage.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-12221 (E.D. Mich.) 09/11/2014
PB-MI-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 06/05/2014
PB-MI-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendants' Motion To Stay And Administratively Terminating Defendants' Motion To Dismiss 02/10/2015 (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hluchaniuk, Michael J. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
PB-MI-0009-0002
Tarnow, Arthur J. (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0009-0002 | PB-MI-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gibbs, Alec S. (Michigan)
PB-MI-0009-0001 | PB-MI-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Booth, Joshua O. (Michigan)
PB-MI-0009-9000
Grossi, Christina M. (Michigan)
PB-MI-0009-9000
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)
PB-MI-0009-9000
Reising, William H. (Michigan)
PB-MI-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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