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Appeals court says commitment ceremony not a marriage

Flickr User Alexander Meseguer

The state Court of Appeals says a commitment ceremony does not equal a marriage in Michigan.

An ex-husband is challenging a lower court ruling. The appeals court said he has to continue paying an agreed-upon spousal support arrangement. That’s even though his ex-wife and her new partner invited friends and families to witness their commitment ceremony.

Family law attorney Robert Cassar says the decision sets a clear standard on who is entitled to marriage rights in Michigan.

“You have to get a license from the state of Michigan to get married. If you don’t do those things, you’re not married.”


The ex-husband could appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.