Arts & Entertainment
Domestic partner benefits approved
State employees will be able to cover one other eligible adult
By Tara Cavanaugh
Originally printed 1/20/2011 (Issue 1903 - Between The Lines News)
In a 3-1 vote, the Michigan Civil Service Commission decided Jan. 26 to offer health care benefits to the domestic partners of state employees.
The language offers one "other eligible adult" -- who has lived with the state employee for at least a year, will continue living with that employee, and is not a tenant or hire -- access to state health benefits. The OEA's dependents may also access those benefits, explained Matt Fedorchuk from the MCSC.
State employees negotiated domestic partner benefits in 2004. But that same year, Michigan voted to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. That vote caused the Michigan Supreme Court to decide in 2008 that same-sex partner benefits should not be allowed.
The court made clear in its ruling that language that offered benefits to "domestic partners" sounds too much like marriage, explained Denise-Brogan Kator, a lawyer and executive director of Equality Michigan. But the court also made clear that the ruling does not prohibit employers from offering coverage to another person -- that person just couldn't be called a "domestic partner," she said.
Universities across the state promptly changed their language to keep offering domestic partner benefits, Brogan-Kator said, and the MCSC change is similar.
Fedorchuk said the language will go into effect in October. Now, Snyder has to accommodate the costs in his budget proposal to the state legislature next month. Fedorchuk did not have any estimates for the cost of the extended health coverage.
The state House and Senate may vote to change or get rid of the language that will allow the OEA benefits, but each would have to do so by a two-thirds majority, Fedorchuk said.
The extended benefits are not just a victory for the LGBT community, Brogan-Kator said, "but also for the people of Michigan ... for the people that now can protect their families and protect their children."
- Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse
- Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court
- Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand
- Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals
- Detroit Police Announce LGBT Liaison
- Obamacare Education And Enrollment Event
- Upcoming Holocaust Center Program To Look At Worldwide LGBT Rights
- Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week
- Gala Celebrates Progress, Mourns Founder
- Emotional Outpouring For Marriage At Equality Cabaret
- Wayne County Adds LGBT Protections
- PUGH UPDATE: Civil Suit Coming, Seeks $1 Million In Damages
- Between Ourselves: Meet Affirmations Development Director Angela Gabridge
- LGBTQ and Allies to Peacefully Protest Catholic Conference
- ACCESS Opens Healthcare Enrollment Assistance To Public
- MSU 2014 LGBT Scholarship Applications Available
- Charles Pugh: An In-Depth Look At The Rise And Fall Of A Local LGBT Hero
- Affirmations Receives $800,000 Bequest
- Equality-Supporting County Clerks Among Catalyst Award Winners
- Gay-Owned Espresso & Gelato Shop Finds Niche in Detroit