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Thu December 22, 2011
Snyder signs ban on partner benefits for public employees
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
Governor Rick Snyder has signed a measure that bans health benefits that cover the live-in partners of people who work for school districts and local governments. But, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, the governor says the ban will not apply to the unmarried partners of employees of state or public universities.
The governor sent a letter to the Legislature saying Michigan's constitution gives the Michigan Civil Service Commission and public universities autonomy to handle their affairs -- and that includes employee benefits.
Many Republican legislators say they voted for the ban believing it applies to all public workers, including state and university employees. The law will not apply to private businesses that offer benefits covering unmarried partners.
Live-in partner benefits allow public employers in Michigan to offer coverage to people in same-sex relationships without running afoul of the state's amendment outlawing gay marriage and civil unions.
Regardless, this is not the final word on the issue. The American Civil Liberties Union says it will move quickly to challenge the law in court.