Detroit, Mich., Jul 6, 2013 / 12:08 pm
A federal judge has blocked a Michigan law barring domestic partner benefits for public school and local government employees, citing the Supreme Court ruling that struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson's June 28 ruling said it can "never be a legitimate purpose" to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. He said the plaintiffs who lost benefits or had to pay for more expensive private health insurance have a "plausible claim" that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
The 2011 law ended same-sex partner benefits for a few school districts, the counties of Ingham and Washtenaw and the cities of Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Kalamazoo, the Associated Press said.
Defenders of the law said it was passed in the spirit of a 2004 constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union of a man and a woman. That amendment won 58 percent of the vote.