Michigan bans domestic-partner benefits
By Andrea Billups-The Washington Times
LANSING, Mich. â€” The American Civil Liberties Union says it will mount a legal challenge against the state of Michigan after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Thursday a bill banning domestic-partner benefits for unmarried employees at state agencies.
Mr. Snyder signed off on House Bill 4770 amid objections from officials at Michiganâ€™s public colleges and universities who said not being able to provide such benefits would limit their ability to recruit competitively on a national level.
While Mr. Snyder had said he would only sign the legislation if it didnâ€™t affect state universities – he asserted in a letter that they are exempt under the Michigan Constitution – some Republican lawmakers contend that it does.
â€œI am gratified that the Legislature removed the definition of public employer from the bill, which included institutions of higher education, in favor of a definition of public employees that makes no specific reference to university employees,â€ Mr. Snyder wrote in a letter after signing the legislation.
â€œThe constitutional autonomy of universities has been reviewed many times by the courts since the adoption of the 1963 Michigan Constitution,â€ he concluded.
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