Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Same-sex partner benefits illegal in Michigan

Welcome to the backwater called Michigan.

The Supreme Court has spoken. The state constitution as amended by voters defines marriage in Michigan as only possible between one man and one woman. Public employers may not extend benefits to same-sex partners of employees.

If you are gay or lesbian and in a committed relationship, you cannot be construed as married in Michigan. While the court's decision only applies to public employers, it will be a green light for further discrimination against LGBT persons in Michigan.

Now you can be sure that Michigan is an inhospitable place for gay and lesbian people.

The straight majority asserted its will in 2004. Married heterosexual people really are privileged in Michigan. Heterosexual privilege is enshrined in the state constitution.

If you are in a gay or lesbian relationship, you may think of your commitment to each other as a marriage, but the state does not. You may share all your resources with each other, but Michigan will not honor your relationship. You have no protection. You can draft a sheaf of legal documents to simulate the contractual elements of marriage. You can hope that such documents will be honored as you attempt to conduct your business as a couple. But there are no guarantees.

Good luck with your new economy, Michigan. Good luck attracting quirky, creative, innovators. Good luck retaining gays and lesbians who've devoted themselves to public service and education for the wellbeing of their fellow citizens.

Maybe this is what some voters wanted -- to drive out the queers, make them unwelcome, purify Michigan for the sake of future generations.