A federal judge has struck down a Michigan law that bans domestic partners from receiving benefits.
The Associated Press writes:
A federal judge on Friday blocked Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits for employees who work for public schools or local governments, saying state lawmakers simply wanted to punish gays and lesbians.
U.S. District Judge David Lawson said plaintiffs who have lost benefits or been forced to buy expensive private health insurance have made a "plausible claim" that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision came nearly a year after he heard arguments in the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"It is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose – indeed, perhaps the sole purpose – of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. But that can never be a legitimate governmental purpose," Lawson said as he ordered an injunction.
Supporters of the law say it saves tax dollars and follows the spirit of a 2004 constitutional amendment, approved by 58 percent of voters, that defines marriage only as a union between a man and a woman.
Lawson, however, said that argument stinks. The state's claims "come close to striking (the court) with the force of a 5-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish," he said.