It’s not often that I agree with a hard-right Republican like Rick Jones but today I find myself in that position. Jones has introduced legislation – S.B. 534 – which would end domestic partner benefits for state employees in Michigan. It’s a move that I support.
I support this because, thanks to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer in Obergefell v. Hodges which made same-sex marriage a legal reality, domestic partner benefits are no longer needed. And, frankly, I don’t think we can afford to pay for the benefits of the boyfriends and girlfriends of state employees.
A previous attempt to end these benefits in Michigan – just under a year ago and prior to the Obergefell case – was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. His reasoning was that it was based on “irriational prejudice” and “unlawfully discriminate[d] against the same-sex partners of public employees without a legitimate basis for doing so.”
This situation no longer exists and we should celebrate that we no longer need to provide domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples because they can now marry like opposite-sex couples. As Senator Jones put it, “If you are a state employee with a girlfriend or boyfriend and you want them to get state benefits, then make a commitment and get married. If you want it, put a ring on it.”
Don’t get used to this, Senator Jones (LOL).