FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wed., May 7, 2008
CONTACT: Gary Glenn 989-835-7978
5-to-2 ruling validates Cox, marriage amendment supporters
Michigan Supreme Court upholds constitutional ban on govt. recognition of homosexual relationships “for any purpose,” including employment benefits
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that under a Marriage Protection Amendment approved by Michigan voters in 2004, government employers cannot recognize homosexual relationships as equal or similar to marriage for any purpose, including for the purpose of offering spousal-type employment benefits to the homosexual partners of government employees.
The Court did not rule on whether government employment benefits can be offered to homosexual partners on some broader basis also available to other employees, which some local governments and universities — in anticipation of the court’s ruling — have attempted by amending the eligibility requirements for such benefits.
The decision validates the views of amendment supporters and Attorney General Mike Cox, whose interpretations of the amendment and its effects was challenged by the Michigan ACLU, representing the national AFL-CIO’s in-house homosexual activist group, National Pride at Work. www.PrideatWork.org
Gary Glenn, one of two co-authors of the Marriage Protection Amendment, who as president of the American Family Association of Michigan first proposed such an amendment in June 2003 following an Ontario court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” welcomed the court’s 5-to-2 decision.
“The Michigan Supreme Court has made clear that universities and state and local governments are not above the law and cannot choose to simply ignore a vote by the people of Michigan,” Glenn said. “The people of Michigan have constitutionally protected marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman, period, and that includes prohibiting the recognition of homosexual relationships as equal or similar to marriage for any purpose, including offering spousal-type benefits to the homosexual partners of government employees.”
Glenn said the issue of employment benefits itself was not before the court, citing the court’s clear statement when it wrote that “the only pertinent question (before the court) is whether the public employer is recognizing a domestic partnership as a union similar to marriage for any purpose.” (Bottom of page 13: http://courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Clerk/11-07/133429/133429-Opinion.pdf)
“When public employers provide domestic partners health-insurance benefits on the basis of the domestic partnership, they are without a doubt recognizing the partnership,” the court ruled. (page 21: http://courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Clerk/11-07/133429/133429-Opinion.pdf)
It is government recognition of such relationships which the Marriage Protection Amendment prohibits, not the benefits themselves, Glenn said.
He said the high court’s ruling “validates 100 percent and in full our interpretation of the Marriage Protection Amendment and its intended effects, which AFA-Michigan has clearly and consistently maintained throughout the 2004 election and over three years of court proceedings that followed. The decision three times in its 34-page decision cited or quoted directly from a legal brief submitted to the court by AFA-Michigan, he noted.
Glenn also noted that in the wake of last year’s Court of Appeals decision on the amendment, upheld Wednesday by the state Supreme Court, “even opponents of the amendment have been forced to admit that AFA-Michigan’s interpretation of its effects has been right all along.”
Homosexual activists and the Michigan ACLU argued during the 2004 campaign that the amendment would prohibit government employee benefits based on government recognition of homosexual relationships; then, after losing the election, the same groups argued in court that the amendment did not prohibit such benefits. Then, after the Court of Appeals decision last year, they reversed course again.
Attorney Jay Kaplan of the Michigan ACLU last June told Lansing City Pulse: “‘The Michigan Court of Appeals decision never said that public employers could not provide health care coverage to domestic partners of employees,’ Kaplan wrote in an e-mail. He said that employers can provide health insurance coverage for domestic partners as long as they do not specifically recognize the domestic partner relationship â€” by filing domestic partner benefit forms, for example â€” when determining criteria for insurance eligibility.” http://www.lansingcitypulse.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1133&Itemid=2
Between the Lines, a homosexual activist newsweekly in Detroit, reported: “(ACLU-Michigan lawyer Jay) Kaplan says that even under the Appeals Court ruling, benefits can be offered, but they have to be done in a way which does not recognize same-sex partners or relationships.” http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=25497
Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, a homosexual activist group, said last June in a news release: “The Michigan Court of Appeals did not say that health insurance coverage for domestic partners is illegal. The court said that public employers cannot use criteria that recognizes the domestic partner relationship.” http://www.tri.org/docs/Kzoodprallies.doc
In order to be constitutional, the Court of Appeals had ruled, the eligibility criteria for benefits must be broad-based, not based specifically on singling out and recognizing homosexual partnerships for special treatment as if they are equal or similar to marriage between a man and a woman.
As a result, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and other public employers in the state have expanded the eligibility criteria of their benefit plans so as not to unconstitutionally offer benefits based on exclusively recognizing and benefiting homosexual relationships as if they’re equal or similar to marriage. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/06/15/benefits
“The irony is that despite all the manufactured outrage and falsehoods from homosexual activists and their newspaper editorial board allies over the last three years, the direct result of the changes required by the Marriage Protection Amendment is that more not fewer Michigan citizens are today eligible for coverage under health insurance plans offered by government employers,” Glenn said.
During the 2004 campaign, the campaign committee opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment praised Glenn and AFA-Michigan for openly acknowledging the effect the amendment would have regarding benefits based on government recognition of homosexual partnerships:
“The Coalition for a Fair Michigan said today that they were happy to find common ground with the Michigan affiliate of the American Family Association, one of the lead proponents of the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban legal recognition of any relationships other than opposite-sex marriage. Last night, at a forum on the amendment…both sides agreed that the amendment would go much further than defining marriage by also eliminating any government-sanctioned domestic partnership benefits. ‘Iâ€™m glad we could find common ground with the AFA, and I want to thank Gary Glenn for his willingness to be upfront on this point,’ said Wendy Howell, Campaign Manager for CFM.”