senate to consider asking court to block
domestic-partner benefits

The Michigan
senate is expected to take up two measures this week that
would ask the Michigan supreme court to issue an order
preventing state and local governments from providing
benefits to the same-sex partners of their workers.
The resolutions were introduced after an Ingham
County judge ruled that public universities and
governments can provide health insurance to the
partners of gay employees without violating the Michigan
constitution. Ingham County circuit judge Joyce
Draganchuk said the purpose of a 2004 constitutional
amendment was to ban same-sex marriage and civil
unions—not to keep public employers from offering
benefits to the partners of gay employees.

The resolutions,
introduced by Republican senator Alan Cropsey of DeWitt,
would ask the state's highest court to issue a temporary
restraining order to prevent the use of taxpayer money
to fund benefits for same-sex unions until the court
has ruled on its constitutionality.
A measure passed by Michigan voters last
November made the union between a man and a woman the
only agreement recognized as a marriage "or similar
union for any purpose." Those six words led to a fight over
benefits for gay couples. Atty. Gen. Mike Cox issued a legal
opinion in March saying the measure prohibited the
city of Kalamazoo from providing domestic-partner
benefits in future contracts. But 21 gay couples who
work for the city of Kalamazoo, several universities, and
the state filed a lawsuit challenging Cox's interpretation.
Cox, a Republican, said he would appeal the
judge's decision because "the people of Michigan spoke
very clearly on the amendment," spokeswoman Alison
Pierce said. (AP)

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