Update 4:43 p.m.
Governor Rick Snyder has approved a ban on health benefits that cover the live-in partners of many public employees in Michigan.
The governor says the ban will not apply to the partners of state civil service workers and people employed by public universities.
In a letter to the Legislature, the governor says the law cannot violate the independence of the state Civil Service Commission and public universities. Both are autonomous under the Michigan Constitution.
But Republicans in the Legislature say the law applies to all public employees, and not just people who work for school districts and local governments.
Republicans like state Representative Dave Agema say live-in partner benefits are a way to circumvent Michigan’s voter-approved amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and civil unions:
“All I ask is, if you really want this, do another referendum. Bring it before the people. See what kind of probability you will get there. I will tell you right now, they will never pass that,” says Agema.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it will be in court soon to challenge the new law.
Governor Rick Snyder has approved a measure to ban taxpayer-funded health benefits for the unmarried live-in partners of most public employees in Michigan. The governor sent a letter to the Legislature saying he signed the bill with the understanding that it does not apply to employees of public universities.