DETROIT — A federal judge temporarily prevented a Michigan state law from taking effect on June 27 that would have barred many public entities from providing health insurance to the domestic partners of their employees, finding it to be unconstitutional, Windy City Times, a Chicago gay newspaper, reported citing a press release.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Kirkland & Ellis LLP challenged the law on behalf of five gay and lesbian public employees, as well as their long-term domestic partners, who either lost their health insurance or would have lost their insurance as a result of the law, the report said.
In granting the preliminary injunction, U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson found that the law discriminated by forcing cities, counties, school districts and community colleges to cancel family benefits for gay and lesbian employees in committed relationships while straight employees had the ability to marry their partners to maintain health insurance, the report said. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Michigan. The decision came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down key parts of DOMA.
Michigan voters approved an amendment to their constitution in 2004 barring official recognition of same-sex nuptials. The legislature in nearby Illinois has been considering a bill to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Illinois has allowed same-sex civil unions since 2011.
Michigan activists hope to gain momentum for their own effort to repeal the state constitutional ban on gay marriage.