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Dubay v. Wells, 06-11016-BC ( E.D. Mich. 2006), is a legal case between Matt Dubay and his ex-girlfriend, Lauren Wells, both of Saginaw Township, Michigan. The case, which has been dubbed "Roe v. Wade for Men" by the National Center for Men, concerns whether the Michigan Paternity Act violates the United States Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, in that the Act allegedly applies to men but not to women.

Contents

Background

Dubay and Wells began dating in 2004. Dubay maintains that he made it clear to Wells that he was not interested in being a father and that Wells reassured him that she could not get pregnant because she was using contraception and because she had physical conditions that prevented pregnancy [1]. After they stopped dating, Wells informed Dubay that she had become pregnant. Although the two discussed adoption, Wells ultimately decided to have the baby and pursued child support payments from Dubay. Dubay was ordered to pay $475 per month plus half of the baby's health care expenses by Saginaw County Circuit Judge Patrick McGraw. The National Center for Men agreed to take Dubay's case and challenge the child support order.

Issues involved in the case

The specific legal challenge in the case is based on whether Michigan's child support laws apply to men and women equally. If not, then it is argued that they violate Equal Protection. Jeffrey Cojocar, Dubay's attorney, maintains that Michigan does not force women to make child support payments for children that they do not want to parent, and accordingly, men should not have to either [1].

The argument made by the state of Michigan, as well as by the National Organization for Women and the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, is that the needs of the child for support from both parents outweigh any of the circumstances surrounding the birth.

The argument for why the case parallels the Roe v. Wade ruling by the United States Supreme Court are that in Roe v. Wade, it was decided that women have the ability to decline parenthood in the event of an unintended pregnancy. This case is claimed to be about giving men that same reproductive choice [2].

Additional issues involved in the case are whether a man should have responsibility placed on him when his decisions were based on misleading information provided by someone else about her ability/intentions to have a child, and whether states pursue men too aggressively for child support payments due to the financial incentives they have to avoid having to provide public assistance.

Legal action

On March 9, 2006, the National Center for Men challenged the child support order in District Court. Michigan's Attorney General made a motion to have the case dismissed, and on July 17, 2006, District Court Judge David M. Lawson agreed and dismissed Dubay's lawsuit. The National Center for Men appealled the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on May 14, 2007. Oral arguments began September 10, 2007, and in November the appeals court affirmed the District court decision, noting precedent stating that "the Fourteenth Amendment does not deny to [the] State the power to treat different classes of persons in different ways."

See also

References

  1. ^ Shepardson, David; Lacy, Eric (9 March 2006). "Dads: No cash for unwanted children". Detroit News. http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060309/LIFESTYLE/603090385/1005. Retrieved June 2, 2007.  
  1. "US men fight child support laws." (March 9, 2006). BBC News. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
  2. Piechowski, Jeff. (March 10, 2006). "Matt Dubay speaks about lawsuit." ABC12.com. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
  3. Gandy, Kim. (March 22, 2006). "They Just Don't Get It." Below the Belt. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
  4. Dubay interviewed by Dr. Phil McGraw

External links

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