dtwclipper
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Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:27 am

The city of Kalamazoo became the first public employer in the state to strip health benefits from the domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees.

City Manager Kenneth Collard cited a decision last month by the Michigan supreme Court.

The high court agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that said the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage blocks the state, local governments and public institutions from providing benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

In granting leave to appeal the court said that the lower court's order cannot be held up.

Four Kalamazoo gay city workers have their families covered under the benefits plan.

Civil rights activists say they believe other cities and state funded universities that offer domestic partner benefits will follow suit.

The lawsuit involves 21 gay couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Soon after the amendment banning gay marriage was passed in 2004 Gov.
Jennifer Granholm (D), acting on the advice of Attorney General Mike Cox (R), terminated domestic partner benefits that had been won by state unions.

The University of Michigan and Wayne State University and the city of Kalamazoo also were directed to shut down their benefits programs to same-sex couples.

The 21 couples filed suit against the state - one partner of each of the couples works for the state of Michigan.

Although Granholm removed the benefits from the contracts she disagreed with Cox's interpretation of the amendment and entered the case on the side of the gay couples.

In September 2005 Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk said health care benefits are benefits of employment, not marriage and Cox's office appealed.

The three-judge Court of Appeal panel In February overturned Draganchuk's ruling saying the wording in the amendment barred domestic partner benefits for public employees.

The constitutional amendment defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman and is the only agreement that can be recognized as a marriage "or similar union for any purpose."

It was those six words that led to the legal battle.

"The marriage amendment's plain language prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose," the court said.


http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/06/060407Mich.htm
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falstaff
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:46 am

Quoting Dtwclipper (Thread starter):
City Manager Kenneth Collard cited a decision last month by the Michigan supreme Court.

The high court agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that said the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage blocks the state, local governments and public institutions from providing benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

I bet it really has to do with money. Michigan is going broke and if a city can save a few bucks by not paying for someones partner's health coverage they would do it. Hiding behind the court decision makes it easier.

I am a public school teacher in Michigan and my school doesn't pay for any kind of spouse/life partner if their employer offers coverage.
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dtwclipper
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:17 am

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 1):
I bet it really has to do with money.

Not really, it has to do with the AFA filing suit immediately after Prop 2 (2004) passed.

Although they said the proposal on gay marriage had nothing to do with anything other then prohibiting gay marriage they brought on this vindictive case within days after the election.

The issue of health benefits to same sex couples was brought up many times during the election, the proponants of Prop 2 said: oh no, we won't do anything in regards to benefits etc. What wonderful Christains these people are.

edit: typo

[Edited 2007-06-05 21:18:46]
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travelin man
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:45 am

Wow. Stripping away health benefits from the families of gay employees. Just lovely.

I am admittedly not a judge or lawyer, but I fail to see how offering domestic partner benefits can be construed as anything but "employment" benefits.

Quoting Dtwclipper (Thread starter):
In September 2005 Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk said health care benefits are benefits of employment, not marriage and Cox's office appealed.

That seems right to me, but I guess the Michigan Supreme Court disagreed.

Does this mean private employers in Michigan will also be barred from offering Domestic Partner benefits?
 
searpqx
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:46 am

While this was sadly predictable, in one sense at least, there is a silver lining. After actions like these, and the publicity following passage of the Ohio Anti-Gay Marriage amendment, it will be much harder, if not impossible, for groups like AFA and Focus on the Family to convince voters in other states that their proposed amendments only target marriage and that they have no interest in restricting access to benefits, etc.

Even as the number of Americans who oppose gay marriage continues to shrink, those that support items like partner benefits have been above the 50% mark for a few years now. And since the rallying cry for many of the Anti-Gay Marriage crew has been that the majority of Americans don't support it, I'm sure that those same people will certainly be supportive of continued partner benefits for gays, right?  Wink
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dtwclipper
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:48 am

Quoting Travelin man (Reply 3):
Does this mean private employers in Michigan will also be barred from offering Domestic Partner benefits?

No. Only State employees.
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ConcordeBoy
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:20 am

Quoting Searpqx (Reply 4):
Even as the number of Americans who oppose gay marriage continues to shrink



Quoting Searpqx (Reply 4):
those that support items like partner benefits have been above the 50% mark for a few years now.

Corroboration for either of the above?
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searpqx
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:15 am

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 6):
Corroboration for either of the above?

Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey covers the marriage part, and infers the other, but doesn't explicitly state it. I'm going to have to dig to see where I saw the actual % on benefits and at what year it passed 50%. The HRC Site quotes a 2000 AP Poll, which I think is the one I'm after, but they don't link to the poll results themselves.
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travelin man
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:00 am

Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 6):
Corroboration for either of the above?

http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=273

Pew Research Center:
Americans opposing same-sex marriage in 1996: 65%
Americans opposing same-sex marriage in 2007: 51%

Americans in favor of same-sex marriage in 1996: 27%
Americans in favor of same-sex marriage in 2007: 39%

The gap is definitely narrowing (one reason may be that by all accounts Massachusetts has not gone to hell in a handbasket as a result of their legalization of gay marriage).
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:46 am

Good stuff!
I just wanted a tangible representation.... that's certainly encouraging.
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saxdiva
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:04 am

Wow. How Godly of the AFA.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Kalamazoo Dumps Gay Benefits Plan

Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:04 pm

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H
I got a guy in Kalamazoo
Don’t want to boast but I know he’s the toast of Kalamazoo
Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo

Years have gone by, my my how he grew
I liked his looks when I balanced his books in Kalamazoo
Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo

I’m gonna send away, hoppin’ on a plane, leavin’ today
Am I dreamin’? I can hear him screamin’
"Hiya, Mr. Jackson"
Everything’s OK, A-L-A-M-A-Z-O

Oh, what a guy, a real pipperoo
I’ll make my bid for that freckle-faced kid I’m hurryin’ to
I’m goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest guy in Kalamazoo
Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, Kalamazoo
K
A
L-A-M-A-Z-O
Oh, oh, oh, oh what a guy, a real pipperoo
We’re goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest guy in Kalamazoo
Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo
Kalamazoo!!

Hehehehehe  Silly
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