Is This The First Step for LGBT Equality In Michigan?
Many LGBT residents of Michigan face the same struggle. There has been no advancements towards LGBT equality. In fact, in 2004, a marriage equality ban was put in the State’s Constitution. LGBT advocates, like me, have found the struggle quite frustrating at times, but this week, things may have started to turn around.
Back in 2011 Gov. Rick Snyder decided to veto a proposal allowing LGBT State employees to include their partners on their health insurance benefits. Snyder was quoted saying that this would cost the tax payers of Michigan too much money.
At the time, Michigan’s economy was still down, after the mortgage and auto industry crisis of 2008/2009, but many LGBT advocates agreed that that was not the reason why Gov. Snyder vetoed the proposal.
LGBT activists decided to bring Gov. Snyder’s 2011 decision to the Michigan Supreme Court at the end of 2012. Their argument was that if private companies such as Chrysler allows their LGBT employees to extend their benefits to their partners, than the State as an employer should as well.
On January 10, 2013 the Michigan Supreme court made their decision. They voted that LGBT State employees should be allowed to add their partners to their benefits. This is an exciting, yet bittersweet victory for LGBT residents of Michigan. According to one source, the Supreme Court ruled in favor for this because it did not conflict with the 2004 “gay marriage ban” that is currently in the State’s Constitution.
Although Michigan has discrimination written in the State’s Constitution, allowing LGBT State employees to add their partners to their benefits, is a step in the right direction. For the first time, the State’s Supreme Court has acknowledged that LGBT citizens and their relationships are valid.
As a State employee, I will be adding my partner to my health insurance beginning August 2013. Now on to the next step, getting rid of the “gay marriage ban” in the State’s Constitution!