LGBT, Mark Schauer, Michigan — June 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Federal judge overturns Michigan ban on domestic partner benefits for public employees


Wow, what a week!

It yet another stride forward for same-sex couples, a federal judge today struck down Michigan’s ban on domestic partner benefits for public employees. What it remarkable about the ruling is that the judge cited intent by the authors of the law to specifically target same -sex couples in his decision.

In his 51-page ruling, [U.S. District Judge David S.] Lawson cited statements made by two state Republican legislators who supported the law, concluding their comments bolstered the plaintiffs’ arguments that the law was meant to unfairly hurt same-sex couples.

“The plaintiffs fortify their position with statements from the sponsors of the legislation suggesting that Public Act 297 targets same-sex partners and was motivated by animus,” Lawson wrote.

“This law served no purpose to the state of Michigan other than to needlessly discriminate against hard-working families,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “It’s hard to encourage talented people and their families to work for public employers in Michigan when they’re denied the ability to take care of each other.”

The Detroit News has more:

“It is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose — indeed, perhaps the sole purpose — of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. But that can never be a legitimate governmental purpose,” Lawson said as he ordered an injunction.

In his 51-page opinion, Lawson wrote: “First, gays and lesbians have suffered, and continue to suffer, widespread discrimination, not only in the private sector, but also by all levels of government. The State of Michigan has constitutionalized discrimination against gays and lesbians in its marriage amendment. In addition, the State of Michigan provides no protection against harassment or employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

This is a preliminary ruling and a final ruling will be released in the future.

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer wasted no time pointing out Governor Snyder’s role in this discriminatory law:

Equality Michigan Managing Director Emily Dievendorf issued this statement:

Equality Michigan is overjoyed by Judge Lawson’s ruling. In order to attract the best and brightest talent to Michigan, we need to make sure all workers are treated equally. On the heels of the Supreme Court decisions advancing recognition of same-gender relationships, we believe that momentum towards equality and justice is on our side. This is a victory for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families in Michigan who are working to provide stability for their families.

It’s been quite a week for the LGBT community. Something tells me it’s going to be a full weekend of celebrations across the country.

Somewhere in Michigan, noted bigot and homophobe Gary Glenn, president of the odious American Family Association, is weeping over his multiple losses.

And there isn’t one thing wrong with that.

[CC LGBT graphic: The Limpa-Vias Blog]