Lest you think Ann Arbor is some sort of liberal paradise, here’s yet another cold splash of reality: the Ann Arbor Public School’s policy of providing same-sex partner benefits is being challenged by 17 residents as a violation of Michigan’s “defense of marriage act.” Richard Florida might point out that if Michigan wants to try to keep their economy from totally moving to Seattle and Mexico they might have to consider repealing this kind of Puritan morality legislation. Tom Monahan’s Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center’s press release about the University’s involvement in the lawsuit makes for interesting reading.
“Judge to decide suit on same-sex benefits
A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge will issue a written opinion on whether the Ann Arbor Public Schools’ policy of providing insurance benefits to same-sex partners of the district’s employees is a violation of state law.
After listening to oral arguments from the parties in the case on Wednesday, Circuit Judge David Swartz said he would take the matter under advisement. He did not indicate when he would release his opinion.
The school district has been sued by 17 local residents who allege that it recognizes same-sex unions by offering partners of school employees insurance benefits.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Patrick T. Gillen of the Thomas More Law Center, argued Wednesday that school officials are violating Michigan’s Defense of Marriage Act by recognizing same-sex unions. The 1996 act defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
James Cameron, the attorney representing the school district, argued that the Public Employees Relations Act, which governs school employees, does not prohibit contracting for benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Cameron said that providing benefits to same-sex domestic partners is “not an attempt to redefine marriage.”
The Ann Arbor Education Association, the union that bargains health benefits for the district’s employees, has intervened in the case as a defendant. The AAEA is represented by Arthur R. Przybylowicz, who told Swartz that state lawmakers have amended PERA, most recently in 1994 and 1996, but did not change it to ban bargaining over same-sex domestic partner benefits.”
> See also, Freep: “School sued over same-sex partner benefit”
Also, read about this scary attack at EMU.