State Domestic Partner Benefits Stand

May 2, 2013

The Michigan Supreme Court will let stand a policy that allows most state employees to enroll live-in partners on their health plans.  The court today declined to hear a challenge to live-in partner benefits.

The court issued a brief order simply stating the justices saw no reason to take the case.

About 150 state employees have unmarried, live-in partners covered by their health benefits. The policy was crafted to allow the state to offer coverage to people in same-sex relationships – who, in Michigan, cannot be legally married. But it applies equally to people in unmarried male-female relationships.

The benefit was negotiated as part of most state employee contracts.

Attorney General Bill Schuette challenged those contracts as a violation of Michigan’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. Lower courts dismissed the lawsuit. They said the policy is gender-neutral, so it does not specifically recognize same-sex relationships.