Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Asks Federal Judge to Uphold Ban on Benefits for Gay Couples

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits for gay couples who work for state and local governments and asked a federal judge to uphold the ban in a motion filed on Friday, MLive reports:

SnyderThe motion asks Judge David Lawson to rule in favor of the state in a lawsuit filed by five same-sex couples. The motion argues that the 2011 law banning the benefits "eliminates local government programs that are irrational and unfair" and promotes "financially sound" local agencies.

It will save the government money, in other words, to discriminate against gays.

MLive adds that Lawson has already ruled against the fiscal responsibility argument in a preliminary injunction issued in June 2013:

"The only policy issue that the defendant has identified is the desire to save money. But a desire to save money cannot possibly be sufficiently important to require the court to abstain from deciding the constitutional issues raised by the plaintiffs. If it were, states could effectively insulate themselves from constitutional review by the federal courts of virtually any law by citing budgetary concerns," Lawson wrote.

The state's motion also cites a Michigan Court of Appeals case that called "absurd" and "ridiculous" a Michigan Civil Service Commission policy that would allow for state employees to share benefits with one other unrelated adult living in the same house.

"Eliminating policies that disfavor familial relationships and are 'absurd', 'unfair,' even 'ridiculous' is rational and related to legitimate state interests in promoting fair and reasonable local government policies," the state argued.

Federal Judge Halts Michigan's Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits, Cites DOMA Ruling [tlrd]


  1. screamingqueen says

    Fiscal responsibility? In other words, there’s enough money to give benefits to heteros, but not to you homos. Why does the burden of saving the state money fall only on gay people? Do we get some kind of tax credit for that? Would you ever declare that the state doesn’t have enough funds to give everyone benefits, so black people are excluded? Or how about people with kids–why not exclude them, since they place greater demands on the system anyway? Why is it up to law-abiding, tax-paying gay people to make a special sacrifice so that everyone else can enjoy ceryain benefits?

  2. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    Maybe they think homos don’t pay taxes or something. Or that their workday is worth less than a straight person’s workday.

    Wait–here’s an idea: why not allow benefits only for protestant heterosexual white couples? If you got the mixed race couples and people married to Roman catholics and Jews off the roles you could save Michigan a lot of money. And I understand that a huge number of Muslims live in the Southern part of Michigan.

  3. David From Canada says

    I live right across the border from Michigan, have been there many times, and can tell you that Rick Snyder is none too popular in certain quarters over there. I have even seen petitions in stores to get rid of him as Governor.
    Withholding benefits to gay couples is just plain mean-spirited. And then the Republicans wonder why they are in so much trouble!

  4. Sean says

    Sorry. Nope. LGBT citizens of Michigan are STILL American citizens FIRST and foremost and pay federal taxes therefore FEDERAL tax law applies as well as healthcare, immigration, and all other federal rights, benefits and privileges. American first, state second even if it is a grotesque, anti-American, anti-freedom, fascist, third-worldesque barbarian anti-gay state run by worthless anti-gay barbarian TRASH.

    “It will save the government money,” – – yeah by NOT giving LGBT couples THEIR hard earned money back via marriage benefits taken through taxes, which proves once again that anti-gay TRASH want to continue to steal our money and continue to force us to be their economic slaves. IT WILL NOT BE TOLERATE ANYMORE. Give is our rights, etc. and OUR money back willingly or be violently forced to. Enough is enough.

  5. Owens says

    So if all the employees were straight and married he would have no problem (and plenty of money) to pay them their benefits. But with a few gay employees they suddenly have no money?! We are having that situation here in Arizona, our drunk governor is using the same argument as this POS governor.

  6. woodroad34 says

    I grew up in Michigan and found it to be tolerably sweet and moderate (this was during the George Romney era–the son is very different)…then I move away and my perspective changed; I can’t believe the vileness that goes on there. My hometown of Kalamazoo has several colleges/universities in it–my mom received a couple of Master’s Degrees from Western Michigan…but the hate and vilification that comes out of the student newspaper there now is unbelievable. I’m extremely ashamed of Michigan–they all seem like they’re from the Ozarks.

  7. BETTY says

    If I recall correctly, the state of Michigan is running a billion dollar budget SURPLUS this year?? They are looking for things to spend the money on…I guess the gays cost too much.

  8. Hank Plante says

    My home state of Michigan will never turnaround until Gov. Snyder realizes the Creative Class (both gay and straight) won’t relocate to, and invest in, bigoted locales.

  9. V-8 says

    he’s a tool… it is as if there are 25 million gay couples working in federal/state institutions in MI…. so ridiculous…

    the surplus is an artificial one, he’s removed tons of money from education and maintenance lines and now he has 1.6 billions sitting around just before the re-election bid…

    as a professor of a state institution in MI, I can tell u the way he’s handling educational matters and LGBT rights is hugely responsible for the brain drain here… I am looking for jobs elsewhere, so many have already left…. the creative and intellectual “classes” need to thrive so prosperity flows…

  10. says

    They’ve hit the bottom of the barrel. Last thing short of ‘we just don’t like it’ to offer up as a defense for denying equality ‘it costs money’.

    Republicans in Michigan should be ashamed to put this man forward as their leader. Find it hard to believe that anyone with an ounce of self respect wouldn’t be offended at the shabbiness of offering up such ridiculous nonsense and expect to be taken seriously.

    We advocate for trying to take the high road but maybe it’s time for LGBT citizens harmed by decades of marital inequality to start suing the states for damages.

  11. emjayay says

    Between the most recent Supreme Court rulings, a previous Supreme Court ruling overturning an earlier ruling, public opinion going in the pro-gay direction for a long time, and more and more well known people coming out as gay all the time (even athletes!) the anti-gay people and politicians are becoming a smaller and doomed group. Their backs are up against the wall and they are now making valiant hopeless last stands all over the place.

    By their heroism they can delude themselves into believing they have a chance. But they are simply going to lose and they probably know it deep down inside. It should be pretty much over in a few years, at least outside of the more retrograde areas of the world.

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