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Future JD Students

LGBT Survey Results: The University of Michigan Law School

Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to:

Senior Director for Institutional Equity and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator
Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432

Phone: 734.763.0235
TTY: 734.647.1388

For other University of Michigan information, call 734.764.1817.

LGBT Student Organization(s)

OUTLaws’ objectives:

  • to add the voices of LGBT law students to the dialogue of the law school and university communities;
  • to embrace and learn from our straight allies;
  • to increase the visibility and involvement of our LGBT students of color;
  • to provide a forum for LGBT students to meet and form a community;
  • to reach out to other organizations not traditionally allied with OUTLaws;
  • to extend support for law students who have kept their LGBT identity private;
  • to keep our members informed of events and LGBT rights issues outside of the law school; and
  • to change the world, one openly queer lawyer at a time.

For more information, contact:

University of Michigan Law School
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


LGBT Faculty

Bruce W. Frier
Henry King Ransom Professor of Law

James C. Hathaway
James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law

Frank E. Vandervort
Clinical Professor of Law

LGBT Administrator(s)

Kindra Baer
Director of Employer Outreach

LGBT Course(s)

Michigan Law established one of the first LGBT law courses in the country and has historically integrated LGBT issues into many different curricular offerings. Recent offerings include:

  • The Changing Families/Changing Law seminar explores how the American family today looks very different than the American family of two decades ago. Adults are living together in committed relationships within and without marriage (either by choice or because the applicable law does not permit marriage). Many children are being raised by a single parent, stepparent, grandparent, or a partner (same or opposite sex) who is not married to the biological parent. Further complicating this picture are the expanding horizons in adoption and artificial reproductive technologies. Our highly mobile society makes these issues even more challenging. American law, which developed around the traditional notion of family, is now in flux—some would even say in chaos. This seminar will consider these subjects from the perspective of family law and estate and trust law.
  • Equal Protection: Race, Rights, Remedies examines the law and theory of equal protection under the US Constitution. It considers equal protection both as a rubric in which race has been the central paradigm and as a framework for addressing a broader set of social issues. Topics include changing conceptions of racial discrimination and racial neutrality; the problems of social-role discrimination in the contexts of sex and sexual orientation; the fundamental-rights branch of equal protection doctrine; and the institutional considerations that shape the ways in which courts, legislatures, and other governmental bodies deal with questions of equality. Attention will be given to the University of Michigan’s own experience with the constitutional law of affirmative action, from the Grutter and Gratz cases through Schuette v. Cantrell.
  • Family Law provides an overview of contemporary family law, including the status and conditions of practicing contemporary family law. The course will cover constitutional principles that circumscribe the state’s power over private relations, marriage (including same-sex marriage), economic rights and obligations, non-marital families, parenthood (including adoption), surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies, divorce, division of property on divorce, child support, child custody and visitation, child protection and foster care, juvenile justice, dispute resolution methods, and private agreements in family law (prenuptial and separation) and family law jurisdiction. The course will communicate the rapid trajectory of doctrinal and cultural change in modern family law and provide a foundation for understanding and participating in the ongoing evolution of the field.
  • In Sex Equality, theory and practice are engaged in inquiry into the relationship between sex inequality in society and sex equality under the law. The context provided draws on social science, history, and international and comparative law. The dominant approach to legal equality is examined on its own terms and through an alternative. Concrete issues—employment discrimination, family, rape, sexual harassment, lesbian and gay rights, abortion, prostitution, and pornography—focus discussion through cases. Racism, class, and transsexuality are considered throughout. The course investigates, criticizes, and expands the law toward civil equality between the sexes.
  • The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law seminar examines sexual orientation and gender identity in the US legal system. We will explore the ways in which different views of sexual orientation and gender identity have influenced the constitutional and statutory rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Topics will include anti-sodomy laws; associational rights (relating to both associations among LGBT persons and those who seek to exclude such persons from public and private spaces and activities); anti-gay ballot initiatives; military service; efforts to expand and limit family and parental rights, including second-parent adoption and marriage rights; equality rights in educational contexts; equal employment opportunity; and religious freedom restoration acts. Throughout, we’ll consider the interactions among lawyers and legal advocacy; LGBT movements; legislative politics; and doctrinal development in state and federal courts, as well as in administrative agencies such as the EEOC and the federal Department of Education.

Domestic-Partner or Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

Other Qualified Adult (OQA)

A person who:

  • Shares the same primary residence as you and has shared a residence with you for at least six months
  • Is not eligible to inherit from you under the laws of intestate succession in the state of Michigan. The following individuals do not fall within the eligibility criteria for OQA under the laws of intestate succession in the state of Michigan:
    • Spouse
    • Children and their descendents (i.e., children, grandchildren)
    • Parents
    • Parents’ descendents (i.e., siblings, nieces, nephews)
    • Grandparents and their descendents (i.e., aunts, uncles, cousins)
  • Is not legally married to another individual
  • You cannot legally marry in Michigan

At least one of the following is true:

  • Shares a joint checking account with you
  • Shares a joint credit account with you

At least one of the following is true:

  • You have durable power of attorney for health care for each other
  • You have durable power of attorney for financial management for each other

You have designated this person as your primary beneficiary for at least one of the following:

  • A life insurance contract you hold
  • A retirement contract (including IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or pension plan)

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that all states must license same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The historic decision overturns Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and allows the university to offer benefits equally to married same- and opposite-sex spouses.

The university has offered, and will continue to offer, benefits coverage for Other Qualified Adults (OQAs) and their children. However, the benefit provided to the OQA is taxable to the employee. With this ruling, legally married same-sex couples receive the same federal and state pre-tax benefits as opposite-sex married couples. This applies to medical, dental, and vision benefits, when your covered spouse and/or your spouse’s children are enrolled in these benefits.

More information is available at Benefits Eligibility—Other Qualified Adults (OQA).

Additional Information

We welcome having students identify as LGBT in their application materials. We provide checkbox questions for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Alternatively, we welcome a fuller discussion through a personal statement or optional essay. If you so identify and we admit you, during the recruiting process we will put you in touch with current students who are active in OUTLaws—one of our most lively and engaged student groups.

Michigan Law is a very open and welcoming environment for LGBT students. For example, we provide and advocate for benefits for unmarried partners and, we believe, were the first school to graduate an out-transgender person. Both the university as a whole, which has roughly a dozen active LGBT student groups, and the city of Ann Arbor are open and welcoming as well.

In addition to an active student presence, the Michigan Law community includes a number of LGBT faculty, administrators, and staff. We hope you’ll consider Michigan for your law school education.

Back to LGBT Survey Link

May 21, 2014, 13:28 PM

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