You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council approves benefits for employees' domestic partners

By Tom Perkins

City of Ypsilanti employees will soon be eligible for domestic partner benefits.

At its Tuesday, Aug. 6 meeting, City Council voted 5-0 to approve extending the benefits to employees’ partners.

“This has been a long time coming and I’m glad we finally got to it,’ Council Member Pete Murdock said.

The city is referring to a domestic partner as an “other qualified adult” and qualifying for the program includes a list of stipulations.

Among them, adults must have shared a residence for 12 months and they must have either power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for financial management.

There is a limit of one adult per household and joint ownership must be proven through two of four channels. Those include joint home ownership or a joint lease; a joint bank account; joint ownership or lease of a car; or a joint credit account.

Although he ultimately approved it, Council Member Brian Robb called the legislation too restrictive.

“I have been in a committed relationship for 20 years and I wouldn’t qualify. I think that’s insane,” Robb said.

Benefits include health care, dental, vision and life insurance.

City Council also approved a resolution supporting several state-level equally initiatives.

  • Adds sexual orientation as a protected class to the Elliot - Larsen Civil Right Act.
  • Eliminating the state legislative ban on same sex marriage
  • Recognizing same sex marriages of other states.
  • Placing the repeal of the Michigan Constitutional prohibition of same sex
  • marriage on the ballot.

“We wouldn’t have to go through these contortions if we didn’t have this ban on same sex marriages,” Murdock said. “It’s a shame you have to go through this to get to where you want to go.”

A federal judge recently struck down as unconstitutional Michigan's ban on offering public employees domestic partner benefits.

Ypsilanti has a long tradition of supporting equal rights initiatives.

In 1998, when Ypsilanti and 10 other municipalities in the country passed a non-discrimination ordinance, the ordinance was challenged via referendum by a group opposed to it. The group supporting the ordinance won the election by 12 points. It was only one of two ordinances that were upheld that year.

In 2002, The American Family Association and Tom Monaghan worked to get language inserted into the city charter that said no protections would be provided to anyone who is gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. Voters defeated that measure by 26 points.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at


Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 7:17 a.m.

Not really. Having domestic partner benefits for city employees will make Ypsilanti more attractive to live in. That will increase the tax base and overall business of the city. That aside, change towards equality don't always come about in financially perfect times. The reason for that is quite simple: it's not ethical to say "I think you should be treated equal, but we won't pay you equally because money is tight". Imagine if desegregation was based on the economics of the times. Some cities would still have separate drinking fountains today.


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

Read the city's most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (commonly referred to as the "audit"). The proof and evidence is clear, unambiguous and in black and white. The report can be found on the city's website.

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I'm going to hate myself for asking this, because I already know the answer, but, do you have any budgetary evidence that this specific event with cause the City of Ypsilanti to go into bankruptcy?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

You bet, Jaime, a bankruptcy filing will make the City of Ypsilanti a very attractive location in which to live and raise a family.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

Because...I am not a second class citizen, nor should I be treated as one. Good job Ypsi.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

They'll just lay off an employee who does not belong to a protected group. His family doesn't need benefits because of some imaginary privilege of birth.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Can't stop matter how hard the tea party taliban want to try!

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Excellent steps forward.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Yep, excellent step forward to inevitable bankruptcy. That's what I call "progressive!"


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Interesting action by a city that is on the verge of bankruptcy. Just raid the fund balance reserves a little harder and accelerate the inevitable, I guess.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

"In order to pay for the added costs, existing services will have to be cut. What's your pleasure – fewer cops, fewer firefighters?" How about fewer bigots?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

In order to pay for the added costs, existing services will have to be cut. What's your pleasure – fewer cops, fewer firefighters?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

If the people who would be using these benefits were to get married, it would be the same cost. What's the difference?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

I'm not against the action on "ethical" or "moral" grounds. I just find it interesting that a city that can't afford street lights can apparently afford to increase its already skyrocketing employee/retiree health insurance costs.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

This is basic ethics and not about money.

Dog Guy

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

This Ypsilanti resolution might be part of a long-term right-wing plot to reduce the number of Democratic Party voters.