A federal judge has struck down a Michigan law which prohibits public employers from offering health coverage and other benefits to the unmarried, live-in partners of their employees. In a preliminary ruling, U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson says the law serves no compelling public interest, but it does deny equal protection to people in same-sex relationships.
“This decision will allow cities and schools to again attract and retain the best talent in the state,” says Michael Steinberg, with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Hopefully lesbian and gay residents will now stay in Michigan and not flee to states that are more willing to respect their relationships.”
Private companies, the state, and public universities could already offer live-in partner benefits. The state law was aimed at least ten Michigan school districts, municipalities, counties, and community colleges that offer benefits covering employees’ same-sex partners and any children they might be raising together.
Michigan voters approved state ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2004.