GOP Mich. Gov. Asks Judge to Uphold Gay Benefits Ban

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asked a federal judge Monday to uphold the state's ban on domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples who work for Michigan and local government employees, reports.

Snyder filed a motion this week, which asks Judge David Lawson to rule in favor of Michigan in the lawsuit filed by five same-sex couples. The motion says that the 2011 law banning benefits "eliminates local government programs that are irrational and unfair" and promotes "financially sound" local agencies.

Last summer, Lawson issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from implementing the measure, or Public Act 297, because the plaintiffs had a good chance proving their case that the law goes against the U.S. Constitution, MLive. reported.

"The plaintiffs fortify their position with statements from the sponsors of the legislation suggesting that Public Act 297 targets same-sex partners and was motivated by animus," Lawson wrote last year.

The motion was filed by Attorney General Bill Schuette's office on Snyder's behalf.

"Public Act 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," the motions reads. "It is not singular and does not target same-sex couples."

Lawson, however, already ruled against the state's fiscal responsibility argument in his injunction ruling last June.

"The only policy issue that the defendant has identified is the desire to save money," Lawson said. "But a desire to save money cannot possibly be sufficiently important to require the court to abstain from deciding the constitutional issues raised by the plaintiffs. If it were, states could effectively insulate themselves from constitutional review by the federal courts of virtually any law by citing budgetary concerns."


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