Michigan Supreme Court tells religious bigots they have no standing to sue A2 schools over Domestic Partner program

By |2007-08-02T09:00:00-04:00August 2nd, 2007|News|

LANSING – The Michigan Supreme Court, in and 8-1 decision, has once again rebuffed religious extremists’ bid to force their own brand of morality on the state via court action.
For the second time, the court in as many months told a group of conservative taxpayers in the Ann Arbor school district that they had no standing to sue the Ann Arbor Public Schools to force them to stop offering domestic partner benefits.
“The dismissal of this lawsuit is a step in the right direction for equality in Michigan,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Disapproval of same-sex relationships and of same-sex couples receiving health insurance are not reasons enough to sue.”
The Court ruled earlier this year that the American Family Association did not have standing to sue Michigan State University over it’s domestic partners program.
“Today’s decision is a clear rejection of the right wing’s obstructionist tactics of log jamming our courts every time their so-called morality is offended,” said Triangle Foundation director of policy Sean Kosofsky.” They have no standing to sue and no right to block Ann Arbor Public Schools from offering health insurance to their employees. This attack on decency and equality has been dealt a fatal blow.”
After voters passed an amendment to the state constitution in 2004 limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, the 17 taxpayers sent letters to school board members asking them to stop providing benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit due to lack of standing and the Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.
The taxpayers alleged that by providing health insurance coverage to domestic partners of employees, the school district violated both Michigan statutory and constitutional law limiting marriage to opposite sex couples.
The Court has not yet ruled on Pride At Work v. Granholm, the case which will determine if domestic partner benefits violate the state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, or “similar union.”
In this case, the ACLU of Michigan is representing twenty-one gay couples, in which at least one partner in each relationship works for state or local government.

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