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Michigan Discrimination Against Gay Couples “Good for the Economy”

February 19, 2014

Oh yay, Michigan made the news again for sounding like a bigoted state, or a backwards state, or one in which civil rights don’t matter. Sounds par for the course for most of Michigan, to me, actually. Michigan always seems to trumpet about how its bigoted stance is good for the economy, and this case is no exception.

But Snyder, who is running for reelection this year against Democrat Mark Schauer, is the defendant in a motion filed Friday asking the judge to side with the state in a lawsuit filed by five same-sex couples who argue their equal protection and due process rights are violated by a ban on domestic partner benefits. The governor signed the ban in 2011 for state employees excluding those employed by public universities. The law, Public Act 297, also prohibits Michigan cities, counties and other employers from offering their employees same-sex domestic partner benefits.

After the ban became law, the five couples filed suit against Snyder and the state. Judge David Lawson, who is presiding over the lawsuit, struck down the ban as being unconstitutional in a preliminary injunction last June.

The motion says PA 297 “is a logical and cohesive part of the effort to reduce costs and to address the fiscal insecurity of local governments that has increased exponentially over the past five years.” Authored by State Attorney General Bill Schuette, the motion argues that the ban on domestic partner benefits doesn’t just single out same-sex couples, but also precludes the state employee from sharing their benefits with an adult child, fraternal sibling or other anomalies that could arise if domestic partner benefits were dispensed.

I would say that Public Act 297 of 2011 was about ensuring fiscal responsibility and stewardship as domestic partner benefit policies (regardless of sexual orientation; that was not the factor) can be written without real parameters and Michigan has to address the spiraling costs of health care for the benefit of our state’s taxpayers and all Michiganders,” Sara Wurfel, Snyder’s press secretary, told The Huffington Post in an email.

Discrimination benefits Michigan’s bottom line all the time, apparently. How would we in Michigan even survive without our discrimination measures??Med mal laws that discriminate against the poor in Michigan and the minorities: done. Discriminating med mal laws in Michigan supposedly support the economy.

Everyone knows that discrimination helps pay the bills here in Michigan, right? Or could this be part of the problem in cities like Detroit where bankruptcy is an ongoing fight, and there is a huge part of a racist element there that somehow balances the budget. Of course, the budget isn’t balanced and no one else in the nation claims to balance their budgets by relying on being bigots, but there you have it, that’s why Michigan makes national news!

Oh, and just because people in Michigan passed a constitutional ban on gay rights doesn’t make them bigots, right? You know the old phrase: “I am not a racist/bigot/asshole, but…”

Michigan passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2004. That ban is being challenged in another lawsuit, for which arguments will be heard beginning next week by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman. Two female nurses, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, say that the state government’s belief that marriage exists only between a man and a woman violates their right to marry and adopt each other’s children. If the Michigan ban on gay marriage is declared unconstitutional, the decision on whether to provide employee benefits to same-sex couples will become moot as those couples will be able to marry and receive benefits under the current law.

Although the motion supports continuing the ban on domestic partner benefits, the governor and attorney general argue the law wasn’t enacted out of animus or ill-will toward same-sex couples:

“Similarly, it need hardly be said that individuals may hold deep-seated personal views completely inapposite of the other, and yet bear no animosity, no hatred towards each other,” the motion reads. “Here, to the extent several legislators expressed views supporting traditional marriage, such expressions are not per se discriminatory or hostile.”

I am not sure how it’s NOT discriminatory to bar someone from civil rights, but apparently in Michigan, it’s not. Strange, reality seems to be missing from the Michigan discussion…

English: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuet...

English: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette delivers his address at his inauguration on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on January 1, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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