Human Rights Campaign Condemns Michigan Court Ruling Denying Domestic Partnership Benefits to Public

by HRC Staff

Court Uses Discriminatory Marriage Amendment to Strip Domestic Partner Benefits

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, condemned today's ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals that bars state and local governments and public universities from offering benefits to their employees based on domestic partnerships.

"Today's vote by the Michigan Court of Appeals is disappointing and sends a chilling reminder of how our families suffer when states enact broad, vague and discriminatory laws," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "This decision demonstrates the destructive power of these amendments by unfairly singling out a group of Americans and stripping them and their families of basic protections like health benefits and domestic violence laws."

The court concluded that the state's marriage amendment, which makes the marriage of an opposite-sex couple "the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose," prevents public employers from granting benefits to the domestic partners of their employees because doing so constitutes state recognition of domestic partnerships, a union similar to marriage.

"Across the country, Americans have repeatedly demonstrated their support for equal compensation and equal benefits for all hardworking employees," said Solmonese. "When top employers like the University of Michigan cannot attract the best possible workforce because they are hampered by discriminatory laws, our entire country loses out."

The decision is likely be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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