Mich. Supreme Court Weighs Same-Sex Benefits

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Detroit, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court is weighing whether a constitutional amendment barring gay marriages also prohibits public agencies and schools from offering health care benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

The state’s high court heard arguments from both sides on Nov. 6. Lawyers representing Attorney General Mike Cox said such benefits are unconstitutional because they mirror benefits available only to married couples. Lawyers representing 21 gay couples and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm argued that voters wanted to protect the institution of marriage, not limit employee benefits.

The amendment — which passed 59 percent to 41 percent in 2004 — defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and prohibits government recognition of same-sex marriages “for any purpose.”

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