A divided Michigan Court of Appeals panel has upheld extending health benefits to the live-in partners of state employees.
As Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, the court’s majority rejected the argument that the benefits violate the state’s ban on gay marriage and civil unions.
The court said the state Civil Service Commission offers the benefits to partners in same-sex or heterosexual relationships with state employees.
Progressive groups called the decision a victory for collective bargaining, the independence of the Civil Service Commission, and gay rights.
But Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan says she fears this legal victory will be short-lived.
“I think that we need to expect that this will be challenged further in the courts,” she says.
And Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan Supreme Court is the next stop for this case. The state currently covers 129 unmarried couples and their families.