Federal Judge Hears Challenge Against Michigan Domestic Partner Health Care Ban
Originally printed 8/9/2012 (Issue 2032 - Between The Lines News)
The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge Tuesday to strike down a state law that bans many public entities from providing health insurance to the domestic partners of their employees. The ACLU also asked the judge to block the ban until a decision is issued.
The ACLU and Kirkland & Ellis LLP are representing five gay and lesbian public employees, as well as their long-term domestic partners who either have lost their health insurance or will lose their insurance shortly as a result of the law.
"We have no interest being in a legal battle with the state of Michigan, but standing up for the rights of our families is more important right now," said Peter Ways, an Ann Arbor teacher whose partner will lose his benefits. "This law targets gay families in a very specific way, sending the message that we don't count and that we are not wanted. The state cannot retain a high quality work force with this type of policy in place."
The lawsuit charges that the new law discriminates by forcing local employers to cancel family benefits for gay and lesbian employees in committed relationships while heterosexual employees can marry and maintain family health protections.
"The governor tried to pass this unfair statute off as a cost-cutting measure," said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. "Yet, this law will have no impact on state spending, but will have a huge impact on families who have lost the security of caring for their loved ones."
The law only bars domestic partners from receiving health care coverage, while allowing government employers to offer these benefits to all other family members, including parents, siblings, uncles and cousins.
"This discriminatory law serves no purpose other than to single out a small minority of people and deprive them of critical protections," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "The state is unconstitutionally interfering with the benefit plans established by city and county governments, school districts, and community colleges, and that's hurting hardworking employees and their families."
Plaintiffs in the case are Theresa Bassett and Carol Kennedy of Ann Arbor, Ways and Joe Breakey of Ann Arbor, Barbara Ramber and JoLinda Jach of Kalamazoo, Denise Miller and Michelle Johnson of Kalamazoo and Gerardo Ascheri and Doak Bloss of Lansing.
More information on this case, including profiles of clients, can be found at: http://www.aclumich.org/Domestic-Partnership-Health.
- Michigan For Marriage Meets In Ferndale
- Dave Agema: Arab Fighter Pilots Are
- Richard Bernstein: The Face Of Blind Justice
- MOASH Awarded Federal Funding To Improve Outcomes For LGBT Youth In Michigan
- Ally vs. Extremist: McKenzie Seeks 11th District Win
- WMU To Award LGBT Alumna At Homecoming Event
- Marriage Equality: 'It's Coming' Say LGBT Advocates
- Launch Of The 2014 Michigan Voter Guide
- Ann Arbor Adopts Updated Non-Discrimination Ordinance
- Upcoming Mental Health Training Is Joined By Sex Therapist
- Co-Founder Awards Substantial Gift To Equality Michigan
- Michigan Roundtable To Honor Michigan Social Justice Advocates
- LGBT Jewelry Collection Comes To Tapper's
- Pastors Declare Challenge To Civil Rights For Michigan LGBT Community
- Mark Totten Seeks Attorney General Seat, Speaks On Schuette
- MSHDA Under Investigation, Snyder Fundraiser Raises Questions
- ACLU Dinner Honors Local Heroes
- Masquerave At ARTLABJ And Saginaw
- Coming Out With Self and With Michigan
- Michigan For Marriage Community Conversation
- A Solid LGBT Ally In Peters
- Gary Peters Releases Statement On SCOTUS Decision
- Marriage 'Decision Day' Gatherings To Be Held Throughout State
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- AIDS Committee Of Windsor
- The Corner Health Center
- Financial Services
- Comerica Bank
- Moving Companies
- Two Men and a Truck
- Manzo Eye Care
- Religious & Spiritual
- Emerson Church Unitarian Universalist
- Metropolitan Community Church of Flint
- Social/Community Organizations
- Motor City Bears
- Tax Planning/Preparation
- Kuderik and Associates
- Women's Health
- Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Annie Lennox On Her Legacy, Why Beyonce Is 'Feminist Lite'
- Q&A: Getting To The Core Of Nick Jonas: Abs, Album & That Gay Striptease 'They Made Me Do'
- GOP Hopeful Wants 'Christians' Fleeing MI If Gays Get Civil Rights
- Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
- Q&A: Lisa Kudrow On Judging 'Drag Race' (As Valerie Cherish!) & Gays Being Biologically 'Superhuman'
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
In a Sept. 27 op-ed in the Detroit News, conservative Republican columnist Nolan Finley raised serious concerns about three Republican candidates running for the state house Nov. 4. Todd Courser of Lapeer, Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell and Gary Glenn of Midland -- all correctly identified by Finley as a "trio (who) seeks tea party tyranny." Nolan describes Glenn and Courser as "extremely anti-gay (who) would turn the Republican Party into a fundamentalist denomination of the Christian Church if given the chance." Finley warned that the trio's narrow views on the Legislature could cripple the government and its ability to work across the aisle to move the state forward. Their agenda also includes killing any expansion of the Elliot-Larsen act to include LGBT protections.View More Pride Source Votes
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!