Unmarried couples can come in two different forms. These are known as traditional unmarried couples and untraditional unwed couples. A traditional unmarried couple consists of a man and a woman. However, in this day and age, there are untraditional unmarried couples as well, which consist of couples of the same gender. This is also termed domestic partnerships. Individuals in a domestic partnership consider themselves to be in a relationship whereby certain rights can be beneficial to those in the relationship, such as health insurance and certain property rights.
In Detroit, a federal court judge recently issued an injunction for a state law that would effectively deny health insurance to an employee’s domestic partner. The proposed law essentially denied the rights of those in a same-sex relationship to be able to utilize health insurance benefits as married couples do. Because same-sex marriage is not legal in Michigan, it was expected that the law would pass. But in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and its unconstitutionality, the federal court judge’s decision is on par.
Seemingly, the courts are taking a more active role in protecting the rights of those involved in same-sex marriages or domestic partnership where same-sex marriage is still not recognized. There are some states, as well as Washington D.C., that have already legalized same-sex marriage. By doing this, those who are in same-sex relationships are now afforded the same rights and privileges as traditional married couples.
Rulings like the ones above are still fairly new and are setting legal precedent on how to handle cases of this nature. Individuals that are a part of a domestic relationship should know their rights so that they can appropriately defend against unconstitutional situations. Moreover, they should understand how legislation is changing and how their options change as well. If they are unsure of any steps needed they should contact a qualified professional to ensure their rights are protected.
Source: Windy City Times, “Fed Judge blocks Michigan DP health ban,” June 27, 2013