In a 4-3 decision on Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal a July 8 decision of the Court of Appeals in Renee S. Harmon v Tammy L. Davis involving standing of a same-sex partner to sue for custody after a period of shared parenting. Harmon and Davis were partners for 19 years, during which Harmon bore three children through artificial insemination. After a time of living together with the children, Davis and Harmon no longer lived together but continued to share parenting for some period. Davis asserts that a de facto legal custody arrangement existed, and has sought enforcement of the disputed arrangement. She has been denied standing as a "third person" under the Child Custody Act (CCA) by both the Wayne circuit court and Court of Appeals.
Justice Marilyn Kelly's dissent says that the case involves issues of "great jurisprudential significance," including (1) the scope of the “equitable parent” doctrine established in Atkinson v Atkinson1 and interpreted by this Court in Van v Zahorik, (2) whether Van’s interpretation of the CCA violates plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and (3) whether the combined effect of the CCA and the marriage amendment of the Michigan Constitution unlawfully denies plaintiff standing.
Justices Hathaway and Cavanagh would also have granted leave to appeal. The opinion is here. (PDF)