ACLU urges Gov. Rick Snyder to veto domestic partner benefits ban
The Michigan Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union today urged Gov. Rick Snyder to veto legislation that would ban public employers from providing domestic partner benefits. House Bills 4770 and 4771 passed the State House and Senate late last week.
The ACLU said it was making the request on behalf of four couples who would be at risk of losing their benefits if the legislation becomes law. Two of those couples receive their health benefits through Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
The couples receiving their benefits through EMU are:
- Dennis and Thomas Patrick, who the ACLU said have been in a committed relationship for 14 years and have five adopted children. Dennis Patrick works for EMU. Thomas Patrick has a degenerative disc condition and has had two surgeries to date. He works part time in order to care for their children with special needs.
- Nancy Katz and Margo Dichtelmiller, who the ACLU said have been in a committed relationship for 37 years. Dichtelmiller works for EMU. Katz is a retired attorney. In 2009, she was diagnosed with a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent radiation, followed by chemotherapy.
The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, says providing the benefits is too costly for Michigan. "It is not the responsibility of taxpayers to support the roommates and unmarried partners of public employees," Agema said in a statement. "Providing benefits in this way is not the role of the state, especially when tax dollars are in short supply and there are critical programs being affected by the decrease in revenue.”
The Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution in September opposing such a ban, and EMU and the University of Michigan have opposed the ban.