domestic partner http://michiganradio.org en Michigan Court of Appeals upholds benefits for live-in partners of state employees http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-court-appeals-upholds-benefits-live-partners-state-employees <p>A divided Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld extending health benefits to the live-in partners of state employees.</p><p>Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette challenged the state Civil Service Commission agreement with public employee unions.</p><p>Among other things, the attorney general says the policy violates Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions.</p><p>But the court’s majority said the policy makes no distinction between people in same-sex relationships and heterosexual live-in partners.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 21:35:49 +0000 Rick Pluta 10686 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan Court of Appeals upholds benefits for live-in partners of state employees Contrasting Michigan policy, Toledo mayor considers domestic partner benefits http://michiganradio.org/post/contrasting-michigan-policy-toledo-mayor-considers-domestic-partner-benefits <p>Late last year, Michigan Gov. <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-governor-snyder-signs-measure-banning-live-partner-health-benefits">Rick Snyder signed a controversial law</a> barring many live-in partners of state employees from receiving government health benefits. Snyder and some members of the state legislature cited cost as the primary reason behind the ban. But critics of the law,<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/aclu-moves-forward-challenge-domestic-partner-benefits-ban"> including the ACLU of Michigan</a>, said the law unfairly targeted same-sex couples.</p><p>Now, just south of the border, things might be moving in the opposite direction.</p><p>According to<a href="http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/04/27/Benefits-eyed-for-domestic-partners-of-city-employees.html"> a story in the Toledo Blade</a>, the city&#39;s Mayor Mike Bell is planning to bring legislation concerning domestic partner benefits before the city council. The measure would give Toledo city employees the opportunity to extend their health care benefits to cover their live-in partners, provided couples sign up for the city&#39;s Domestic Partner Registry.</p><p>More from the Blade:</p><blockquote><p>Both heterosexual and same-sex couples would be eligible for benefits under the proposed law...</p><p>&quot;What we&#39;re trying to do is bring our city, form the standpoint of human resources and affirmative-action policies, in line with what&#39;s happening nationally,&quot; Mayor Bell said. &quot;We&#39;re not the first train pulling out of the station here, we&#39;re actually in a way trying to catch up with the policies that make companies and cities competitive in the state of Ohio.&quot;</p><p>Other cities, including Cleveland and Columbus, along with Lucas County, the University of Toledo, Owens Corning, and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, offer benefits to domestic partners of employees, according to information provided by the mayor&#39;s office.</p></blockquote><p>But, the Blade reports, some council members are already voicing misgivings about the policy:</p><blockquote><p>George Sarantou said he has many questions about the proposed law and is concerned it could be too costly for a city that has struggled financially in recent years.</p><p>&quot;Cost is always a factor when you&#39;re dealing with a budget,&quot; Councilman Sarantou said...</p><p>Councilman Rob Ludeman, meanwhile, expressed both financial and moral concerns about the proposed law. During his last term, Mr. Ludeman was one of two councilmen who voted against the Domestic Partner Registry.</p><p>&quot;A lot of it was my own religious beliefs, but I think I represented a conservative constituency who were opposed to it, gay and straight people,&quot; Mr. Ludeman said.</p></blockquote><p>Mayor Bell told the Blade that he doesn&#39;t believe the benefits will present any financial strain and said it comes down to fairness:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;When you&#39;re the mayor, you represent everybody,&quot; the mayor said. &quot;Inside the city we have a lot of different lifestyles. All I&#39;m trying to do is be fair to everybody. ... I&#39;m trying to adjust our polices to the obvious that&#39;s in front of us right now at this particular time in history.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>-<em>John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom</em></p><p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 19:40:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 7237 at http://michiganradio.org Contrasting Michigan policy, Toledo mayor considers domestic partner benefits Supreme Court refuses domestic partner benefits challenge http://michiganradio.org/post/supreme-court-refuses-domestic-partner-benefits-challenge <p>The Michigan Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to benefits that cover the live-in partners of state employees. That ruling means the challenge will have to go first to the state Court of Appeals. This is the newest wrinkle in the legal and political drama playing out over allowing benefits that cover public employees&rsquo; unmarried partners, including people in same-sex relationships.</p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 20:13:19 +0000 Rick Pluta 6774 at http://michiganradio.org Supreme Court refuses domestic partner benefits challenge Kalamazoo faith leaders discuss LGBT issues at prayer breakfast http://michiganradio.org/post/kalamazoo-faith-leaders-discuss-lgbt-issues-prayer-breakfast <p>While the national prayer breakfast was happening in Washington this morning, faith leaders in Kalamazoo held their own prayer breakfast.</p><p>The group of leaders from different faiths discussed state laws affecting people who are lesbian, gay or transgender.</p><p>The Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center helped organize the breakfast. Executive Director Zach Bauer says faith has meant two things to the LGBT community.</p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 17:55:21 +0000 Lindsey Smith 6067 at http://michiganradio.org Kalamazoo faith leaders discuss LGBT issues at prayer breakfast Ban on domestic partner benefits for some, may cost more than it saves http://michiganradio.org/post/ban-domestic-partner-benefits-some-may-cost-more-it-saves <p><font color="#000000" face="Arial" id="role_document" size="2"><font size="4"><font size="4"><font size="4"><font size="4">A while ago, I heard a lecturer explain how the 1960s were a time in which there was a great cultural clash in our country. Well, you didn&rsquo;t have to live through the period to know that.</font></font></font></font></font></p> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 16:28:43 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 5675 at http://michiganradio.org Ban on domestic partner benefits for some, may cost more than it saves ACLU sues Governor Snyder over benefits ban http://michiganradio.org/post/aclu-sues-governor-snyder-over-benefits-ban <p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is suing Governor Snyder over the state&rsquo;s new law banning domestic partner benefits.</p><p>Snyder signed the controversial law just before Christmas.</p><p>It prohibits school districts, counties and other public employers from extending health insurance coverage to employees&rsquo; unmarried domestic partners. State universities are exempted.</p><p>The ACLU filed suit on behalf of four couples. One plaintiff is Doak Bloss of East Lansing, whose partner of 18 years stands to lose his benefits under the new law.</p> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 01:36:59 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 5669 at http://michiganradio.org ACLU moves forward with challenge to domestic partner benefits ban http://michiganradio.org/post/aclu-moves-forward-challenge-domestic-partner-benefits-ban <p>Last month, shortly after Michigan <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-governor-snyder-signs-measure-banning-live-partner-health-benefits">Governor Rick Snyder signed a ban on healthcare benefits</a> for the domestic partners of some public employees, the American Civil Liberties Union <a href="http://www.aclumich.org/issues/lgbt-rights/2011-12/1648">released a statement decrying the governor&#39;s decision</a> and promised to &quot;challenge the constitutionality of the law on behalf of families who will lose their health protections.&quot;</p><p>Now it looks like they are moving forward with that promise, according to a story from the Associated Press.</p><p>The AP reports that the ACLU &quot;says it will file a lawsuit to challenge&quot; the law and that the group &quot;will discuss the case at a news conference Thursday in Detroit.&quot;</p><p><em>- John Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom</em> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 21:07:05 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 5639 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's Governor makes a misstep on benefits to the unmarried domestic partners http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-governor-makes-misstep-benefits-unmarried-domestic-partners <p>Politically speaking, this has been the year of Rick Snyder. Since he first burst on the scene two years ago, he has had an astonishing run of success. The experts said a self-proclaimed &ldquo;nerd&rdquo; without any political experience couldn&rsquo;t possibly win the nomination for governor, much less the general election.</p><p>&nbsp;When he did both, they said the new kid would fall on his face in the rough-and-tumble world of Lansing. Instead, he got more significant legislation enacted in a few short months than his predecessor had in eight years.</p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 14:12:50 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 5535 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's Governor makes a misstep on benefits to the unmarried domestic partners Snyder: "No decision yet" on domestic partner benefits http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-no-decision-yet-domestic-partner-benefits <p>Governor Rick Snyder says he has made no decision yet on whether to sign or veto a ban on taxpayer-funded health benefits for the live-in partners of public employees.</p><p>The governor said his team is still examining the measure to ensure it will not outlaw benefits offered to the domestic partners of university employees. There&rsquo;s wide disagreement on whether that&rsquo;s the case. But the governor has said he&rsquo;d likely veto a measure that does not respect the independence of state universities.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s where I want to go through the issues of uncertainty, the comments from all sides, and really analyze that,&quot; Snyder said. &quot;It has to wait it&rsquo;s time and place and that will be coming very soon.&rdquo;</p><p>The governor has until December 27<sup> </sup>to sign or veto the bill. He could also ask the Legislature to reconsider the measure. That would require the Legislature to ask for the bill to be returned. Thu, 15 Dec 2011 22:28:51 +0000 Rick Pluta 5420 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder: "No decision yet" on domestic partner benefits UM says domestic partner benefits keep top talent in state http://michiganradio.org/post/um-says-domestic-partner-benefits-keep-top-talent-state <p>University of Michigan officials have sent a letter to all 38 Michigan state senators, asking them to vote &ldquo;no&rdquo; on a bill that would ban domestic partner benefits.&nbsp;</p><p>Before Michigan voters approved a law that banned same-gender marriage, the University of Michigan and several other public universities in the state offered benefits to the same-sex partners of employees and their children.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 23:29:35 +0000 Tracy Samilton 4985 at http://michiganradio.org Domestic partner benefit claims in Michigan less than some estimates http://michiganradio.org/post/domestic-partner-benefit-claims-michigan-less-some-estimates <p>Fewer than 100 unmarried state employees are expected to sign-up for health care benefits for their domestic partners by the end of this month.</p><p>That would mean less than $600,000 would be spent on live-in partner benefits paid for by the state.</p><p>The preliminary estimates are well below what some Republican lawmakers said taxpayers would end up paying for the benefits.</p><p>Republican state Representative Dave Agema (R-Ottawa Co.) sponsored a measure to end domestic partner benefits for public employees in the future.</p><p>&quot;Numbers aside, it really doesn&rsquo;t make any difference because what we have now, if it doesn&rsquo;t stop, it will only grow in the future,&quot; said Agema. &quot;We haven&rsquo;t included the colleges and the local governments and so-forth, so it would only be increased to millions and millions of dollars in the future.&quot;</p><p>Agema&rsquo;s proposal could not reverse the decision by the state Civil Service Commission to allow for public employee domestic partner benefits. Thu, 22 Sep 2011 20:54:59 +0000 Laura Weber 4269 at http://michiganradio.org State House fails to reject domestic partner benefits http://michiganradio.org/post/state-house-fails-reject-domestic-partner-benefits <p>The State House failed to reject the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdcs">Michigan Civil Service Commission&#39;s</a> decision to allow state employees to enjoy domestic partner benefits.</p><p>The benefits, originally negotiated between the Granholm administration and about 70% of the public employee unions, are scheduled to go into effect October 1st. The benefits are extended to unmarried partners (gay or heterosexual) and their dependents who have lived together for more than one year.</p> Wed, 23 Mar 2011 10:58:12 +0000 Mark Brush 1752 at http://michiganradio.org State House fails to reject domestic partner benefits State House might vote on domestic partner benefits today http://michiganradio.org/post/state-house-might-vote-domestic-partner-benefits-today <p>Last January, the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdcs">Michigan Civil Service Commission</a> approved domestic partner benefits for state employees. The benefits were scheduled to go into effect on October 1st.</p><p>The ruling went against the Snyder administration&#39;s wishes, and the state legislature has been working to overturn the ruling. The State Senate passed a resolution against the domestic partner benefit ruling earlier this month.</p><p>Today, the State House is expected to vote on a resolution which would overrule the MCSC&#39;s January decision.</p><p>Todd Heywood wrote about the resolution in today&#39;s <a href="http://michiganmessenger.com/47558/house-to-act-tuesday-on-domestic-partners-resolution">Michigan Messenger</a>:</p><blockquote><p>If the House approves the measure, it will be the first time in the history of the MCSC that a decision by the body was overturned by the legislature. Republicans are also seeking a ballot initiative to remove the MCSC from the state constitution, and in the meantime has been working to strip the body of much of its power.</p></blockquote><p>Heywood reports &quot;the House currently has a 63 member GOP majority. But approving this resolution requires a two-thirds super majority, which means 74 votes, so 11 Democrats need to cross party lines in order for the bill to pass.&quot;</p><p>As <a href="http://news.michiganradio.org/post/commission-approves-partner-benefits-over-snyder-administration-objections">MPRN&#39;s Rick Pluta reported</a>, the Snyder administration said it objected to MCSC&#39;s decision because of the cost - estimated at around $6 million.</p><p>The rules were expected to cover 70% of all state employees. Their unmarried partners and dependents who have lived with them for a year or more would be eligible for the benefits. The eligibility is the equal for gay and heterosexual couples.</p><p>The benefits had to be equally available to gay and heterosexual couples because 59% of Michigan voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. The &quot;defense of marriage amendment&quot; is now part of the <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/historical/miconstitution1850.htm">Michigan Constitution</a>. Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:42:28 +0000 Mark Brush 1742 at http://michiganradio.org State House might vote on domestic partner benefits today