Lawsuit challenges MI's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages - WNEM TV 5

Lawsuit challenges Michigan's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages

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Wedding pictures hang in Sara Griffin and Ann Anglim's living room. A scrap book of their special day sits on their table. On Sept. 30, 2011, the two got married.

"We wanted to have that legality for our relationship, just like everybody else," said Anglim.

And because Michigan doesn't recognize same-sex couples, the Fenton couple went out of the country to exchange their vows. They were married in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, more than 60 miles away.

"The other part of why the legality is important is for our children, you know, other kids have the, they take for granted that their parents are legally married, and all that comes with that," said Griffin.

But even though the two now have a marriage certificate, under current Michigan law, it doesn't carry any legal weight. But on Thursday, a lawsuit was filed at United States Federal Court in Flint seeking for Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

"Every Michigan family should be afforded the same rights and the same privileges, and just because they're a same-sex couple doesn't mean they should be denied that, and that's what's happening now," said Jessica Hammon, spokeswoman for All-American Families.

Hammon is also the spokeswoman for Erin and Shayla Blankenship. The Blankenships were married in New York last year but have been together for 16 years. They have two children, and Hammon said they want to be able to share parental rights.

"It's not just about recognizing the marriage, it's about giving the children what they deserve and not inhibiting that on the status of a same-sex marriage," said Hammon.

Griffin and Anglim said there are many families like theirs and the Blankenships, who have been fighting for these rights. And they say if they win their case, it will be a huge step towards bringing equality to same-sex couples across the state.

"While it may be self-serving for them, it has a ripple a effect on all of us," said Griffin.

Count on TV5 as this lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

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