Michigan University professor Dennis Patrick, top right,spends time with his partner Tom,
left,and their adopted children (AP).

Michigan Ruling Worries Gay Rights Advocates in Other States

May 08, 2008 02:55 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Emily Coakley
Gay marriage advocates fear that a Michigan Supreme Court ruling prohibiting same-sex domestic partners from receiving employee benefits could influence other states’ decisions.

30-Second Summary

In 2004, Michigan voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled 5-2 on Wednesday that the amendment applied to employee benefits offered by public entities. As such, same-sex domestic partners their children are not eligible to receive the benefits.

According to the Detroit Free Press, “Specifically, the court found that language in the amendment prohibiting recognition of other unions ‘for any purpose’ effectively bans same-sex partner benefits.”

Gay rights advocates in other states believe Michigan’s ruling could be felt in other states.

“The State Supreme Court of Michigan should be ashamed,” wrote a blogger known as the Snarling Marmot, who is worried about the ruling’s implications in Missouri.

More than half of states define marriage in their constitution, and 41 states have some version of a Defense of Marriage Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Despite reactions, the Detroit Free Press doubts the ruling will affect those living in other states, “because it was based on the specific language of the state’s amendment.”

Headline Link: Michigan court strikes down same-sex benefits

Reactions: The ruling

Opinion & Analysis: Michigan ruling “red flag” for other states

Reference: Court opinion, same-sex partnership laws around the country


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines