No Benefits for Gay Partners in Mich.

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 15, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    No Benefits for Gay Partners in Mich.

    By AP/DAVID EGGERT
    Wednesday, May. 07, 2008


    (LANSING, Mich.) — Local governments and state universities in Michigan can't offer health insurance to the partners of gay workers, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

    The court ruled 5-2 that Michigan's 2004 ban against gay marriage also blocks domestic-partner policies affecting gay employees at the University of Michigan and other public-sector employers.

    The decision affirms a February 2007 appeals court ruling.

    Up to 20 public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments in Michigan have benefit policies covering at least 375 gay couples. After the appeals court ruled, universities and local governments rewrote their policies to try to comply with the gay marriage ban — so the effect of Wednesday's decision is unclear.

    The new policies no longer specifically acknowledge domestic partnerships but make sure "other qualified adults," including gay partners, are eligible for medical and dental care. The adults have to live together for a certain amount of time, be unmarried, share finances and be unrelated.

    The voter-approved law, which passed 59 percent to 41 percent, says the union between a man and woman is the only agreement recognized as a marriage "or similar union for any purpose."

    Justice Stephen Markman, writing for the majority, said that while marriages and domestic partnerships aren't identical, they are similar.

    Dissenting Justices Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly said the constitutional amendment prohibits nothing more than same-sex marriages or similar unions. They argued that circumstances surrounding the election suggest Michigan voters didn't intend to take away people's benefits.

    Republican Attorney General Mike Cox in 2005 interpreted the measure to make unconstitutional existing domestic partner policies at the city of Kalamazoo and elsewhere.

    Twenty-one gay couples sued, saying the amendment was about marriage and preserving the status quo — not taking away benefits from gays. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has sided with the couples.

    The couples represented, by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, argued that the ballot committee that sponsored Proposal 2 "consistently and repeatedly" assured voters that the initiative was only about protecting marriage.

    Markman noted, however, that both supporters and opponents of the amendment said ahead of time that benefits would be prohibited by the amendment.

    "The role of this Court is not to determine who said what about the amendment before it was ratified, or to speculate about how these statements may have influenced voters," he wrote. "Instead, our responsibility is, as it has always been in matters of constitutional interpretation, to determine the meaning of the amendment's actual language."

    Kelly countered that gay partners allowed to get health insurance aren't granted other rights, responsibilities or benefits of marriage — equal rights to property, for instance.

    "It is an odd notion to find that a union that shares only one of the hundreds of benefits that a marriage provides is a union similar to marriage," she wrote.

    ****~****~****~****~****~****~****~****~****~****~

    I know this isn't news to most of you since it's a week old; but this really pisses me off. :12:
     
  2. Pendlum

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    I agree, I don't see what is so frightening about gay marriage. Fear is the only reason I can think of people banning gay marriage, and hate born from fear. I don't think of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, not even two people. I in general terms think of it as a union of two things. I guess they are supposed to be different things, but one gay man isn't the same as another gay man (or gay women for that matter.)
     
  3. SotonDaddy

    SotonDaddy New Member

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    Yep... the hate mongers sticking their noses into our bedrooms strike again!!!! Thank gawd I left that fucking country.... at least in Europe people have common sense! :mad:
     
  4. B_The Greek Dude

    B_The Greek Dude New Member

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    Many countries around the world allow gay marriage, and it hasn't affected "straight marriage" in their culture at all. The idea that it "ruins the sanctity of marriage" is the lamest excuse i've ever heard.

    If two people love each other enough to settle down with each other for the rest of their lives, why stop them?! Even if they don't stay together, can you even begin to count how many straight couples have divorced/broken up since the dawn of society?
     
  5. swordfishME

    swordfishME Member

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    I agree this stinks. However, the ruling is spot on.

    The state of Michigan voted to ban gay marriage. This means that gay couples were to be denied any benefits that stem from a martial union. Insurance is one of those benefits that can only be availed by a spouse, a common-law partner or relative and since Michigan has a law in place where two people of the same sex cannot be spouses (or even common-law partners) the court was right to interpret that the amendment forbade such benefits for gay partners.
     
  6. marleyisalegend

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    i say it's about time for another underground railroad. this one leads the oppressed gays of michigan to canada where they can enjoy all the benefits of marriage that they're denied in the states.
     
  7. Pendlum

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    True, now we just have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.
     
  8. marleyisalegend

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    don't hold your breathe on that one. religious fanatics have the US judicial system by the balls
     
  9. Pendlum

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    They should realize that they are old enough to not need their balls. :p
     
  10. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    No. They won't do that. As the Supremes have shown previously, they recognize that marriage is the right of the states to administer. They have determined that the court has no right to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage.

    They can, however, vote to force states to honor Article Four, Section One of the US constitution, also known as, The Full Faith and Credit Clause, which states that states must honor all, "judicial rulings, public acts, and records," of other states. So if a couple in Vermont marries then the state of Utah and all other states must honor that marriage just as all states and territories do with straight couples. It doesn't mean that anti-gay marriage states must perform the marriages, just that they have to honor them.

    So far, SCOTUS has refused to do that and, at some point, they're going to have to because the way the FF&CC has been interpreted in the past, they can't ignore that gay marriage would be the single exception in a long line of decisions which have upheld the FF&CC in every other respect regarding marriage whenever it has been challenged. Once that happens then gay marriage will be merely a drive or plane ride away and the flood gates will be open, effectively ending debate here in the United States.
     
  11. StormyB

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    O yea and why we're at it, lets not let women vote because girls have cooties ewwwww, this is just fucking pitifull. First of all, who are they to tell someone who they can and cannot marry, that's just retarted do they not see the ingnorance in that? And WTF, this is racism, its no different than telling blacks they can't eat at a certain resturant because of there skin color. America is retarted, it really is how the hell are you going to say "Freedom for all" and yet you choose sides, and not only that but you side with the WRONG FREAKIN SIDE! I swear this is pathetic. This nation is not for everyone, its for an distinctive group of people. Just cause they don't like gay this and that, doesn't mean "Hey lets bann it than" I mean what kind of sense does that make? America is ran by a bunch of retards, if you don't want to be gay, then don't be gay..end of story shit. Instead of banning shit like cigs. and achole that kills people everyday, the homaphobic parents of the USA want to banned gays, because they're scared thier children may become gay, yet they don't mind if they drink, smoke or shoot up everything because that's "kewl". This is pathetic, what is wrong with being gay anyway? whos laws is this country ran by? who is decideing whats right and whats wrong? We know its a retard for a fact. I mean common, lets stop acting like 4yrd kids at a playground, this is everyones earth so how are you going to tell people who to fucking date?!?
     
  12. kalipygian

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    Not necessarily.
    A court can do the right thing, even when a majority of the people do the wrong thing, and pass an unconstitutional constitutional amendment.
    A very similar one was passed by the people here, in 1998. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it would be discriminatory to deny domestic partner benefits to public employees. They presently have them.
     
  13. Pendlum

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    Since I'm not gay and I don't know any gay men who are getting married, I can't say I keep up on this. SO, is this more commonly known? And if not, why hasn't it been brought up more?
     
  14. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    The problem with Alaska's constitutional amendment was that it created a Catch-22 issue with benefits. The amendment as passed banned benefits for same sex couples yet the state's laws stated that state employees had to be married to receive employment benefits. Essentially the court vacated only a portion of the amendment but explicitly stated that the issue would have to be resolved by lower courts and, until then, the state could not deny benefits to domestic partners. The focus wasn't on marriage so much as benefits. It is still illegal for homosexual couples to marry in Alaska. Essentially the court is telling the legislature to re-write its poorly written amendment or change the laws regarding benefits being tied to marriage.
     
  15. swordfishME

    swordfishME Member

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    How can a handful of people decide what is the right thing when hundreds of thousands or even millions of others have decided otherwise. The role of the courts is to interpret the law- period. It takes activism to a whole new level for them to impose their definition of the "right thing" on millions of people.

    In the case you sited, the ruled that it was discriminatory to deny benefits to public employees based on some part of the state constitution or legal precedent, not because it was the "right thing" to do.
     
  16. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Sure it's known and one of the primary battlegrounds in court challenges. The Supremes have, so far, ducked the issue and only addressed it secondarily. The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear every case which is referred to it. They pick and choose what cases they will hear for any given term. SCOTUS has very few specific things they must do under the constitution. They are free to ignore nearly everything short of cases involving disputes between states, handling cases against foreign ambassadors, and forcing the Chief Justice to preside over Senate impeachment trials against the president (Oddly enough, in all other impeachment trials, the Vice-President presides even if it's his own impeachment trial! Now you know why Cheney wasn't impeached.).
     
  17. B_The Greek Dude

    B_The Greek Dude New Member

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    I've told many people that i've wanted to move to Ontario for awhile now, and every one of them says "but it's too cold there!"
     
  18. DC_DEEP

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    Mostly true, jason. The House & Senate passed the DOMA, which basically states "FF&CC is null and void concerning cases involving same-sex marriage", so that law, prima facie, is unconstitutional. What I'm wondering is why such laws and amendments aren't challenged as 14th amendment cases instead of FF&C cases.[/quote]

    Interestingly enough, though, the federal government is a much worse offender in this kind of Catch-22 situation. Federal law offers some 4000+ rights, protections, and benefits for married persons, but refuses to acknowledge marriage as a right to every citizen. Again, I think it should be challenged under 14th amendment. And I wonder why HRC has not done so...
     
  19. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    That's totally unfair, I hope something gets done for the sake of the people without benefits now.
     
  20. DC_DEEP

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    Thanks for you support dear, but it's not only unfair, it's unconstitutional.
     
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