Press Room

March 17, 2005

Category: Domestic Partners

Michigan Amendment Denies State Employees Domestic Partner Benefits

'The people pushing these amendments have shown their true colors,' said David M. Smith, HRC vice president for policy.

WASHINGTON - The state and local governments in Michigan are no longer allowed to give benefits to employees' same-sex partners now that voters have approved Proposal 2, a constitutional ban on marriage of same-sex couples, according to an opinion issued yesterday by Michigan state Attorney General Mike Cox.

"The people pushing these amendments have shown their true colors," said David M. Smith, HRC vice president for policy. "This has nothing to do with protecting marriage, and everything to do with denying rights - even rights as basic as health insurance - to same-sex couples."

"Michigan voters are not getting what they believed they voted for," said Jeff Montgomery, executive director of Michigan's Triangle Foundation. "Citizens across the state will be saddened as the realization sinks in that families will be losing health care benefits if Mr. Cox's opinion prevails. It's shameful that Cox has aided and abetted this mean-spirited assault on gay and lesbian people."

According to Michigan's office of civil service, there are roughly 53,522 employees of the state government in Michigan. The 2000 Census showed that there are more than 15,000 same-sex couples living in the state of Michigan.

"Literally, thousands of families in Michigan may be denied health care because of this amendment. This should be a wake up call to the nation about the Marriage Protection Amendment in the Senate - it is not good for families," said Smith.

Eleven state constitutional amendments were passed by voters on Election Day last year that ban marriage rights and/or other protections for same-sex couples in those states. A similar measure was introduced on the federal level last year and was soundly defeated in the Senate, though it has been reintroduced again this year as the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would define marriage as being solely between a man and a woman, and could deny any of the rights, benefits or protections of marriage to same-sex couples.

"Time and again, we have heard that people behind these ballot measures are not trying to deny rights and protections. Once again, their actions have betrayed their promises. Same-sex couples are hurt in very real ways by these measures," said Smith.

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