Two unmarried people would be able to jointly adopt children together under a bill in the state House. Under current law, only married couples or single individuals can be grated parental rights to an adopted child.
For many same-sex couples, the issue could be decided when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Michigan’s gay marriage ban. But the bill’s sponsor says the ruling still won’t affect joint adoption for unmarried people.
“You might have an aunt and a grandmother of a child who want to step up and co-parent and take on all the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, and state law prevents that,” said state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.
“We’ve got situations in the state of Michigan where two people want to step up and do the very hard job of parenting a child, take on all the legal and financial responsibilities thereof, and the state is preventing that. That’s just a stupid policy and we need to stop it.”
Irwin has sponsored similar legislation in previous terms, but it hasn’t received much support from Republican leaders. He says he’s confident the bill would get traction if it’s given a committee hearing.
“I really believe that if people hear the stories that are coming from these families and these children, it’s going to be hard not to do the right thing.”