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LANSING- The Michigan Court of Appeals yesterday upheld an Ingham County Circuit Court judge’s ruling that the American Family Association of Michigan lacked standing to sue Michigan State University over its Domestic Partners program.
“Plaintiff essentially complains that defendant’s benefits policy is an affront to the values that the plaintiff and its member espouse and promote,” the three judge panel wrote. “As such, plaintiff has not establish that it suffered concrete and particularized, actual or imminent injury distinct from that of the citizenry at large…”
In short, the benefits program is not harming AFA Michigan or its members any more than it is allegedly injuring any other citizen of the state.
While AFA Michigan may not have standing, the court does slide a footnote in its ruling indicating that students who claim the Domestic Partners program impacts their tuition and other employees who claim such programs impact their benefits, might have standing.
“The court is not dismissing this case because there is another case, they are saying just because you are offended does not make you a valid plaintiff,” said Sean Kosofsky, director of policy at the Triangle Foundation.
“This is just proof that they (AFA MI) are not out there for the public good. They are throwing together frivolous lawsuits. They are just useless,” said Derek Smiertka, executive director of Michigan Equality. “This is not unexpected. On its face it is a very silly thing for the AFA to do. The real focus should be on the Supreme Court and what they are going to do.”