Wednesday, 11 January 2012 18:28

Lawsuit Against Michigan Health Care Discriminatory Law

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan decided to file a lawsuit to fight against a discriminatory new law which prohibits a lot of public entities to provide health care insurance to their employees' domestic partners.

Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, said the law was "justified by the governor as a cost-cutting measure" but "the reality is that the legislation was intended to disenfranchise LGBT families. When a key policy priority has been to attract top talent and resources to the state, our elected officials have sent a clear message that Michigan is out of step with the kinds of public policies that attract talent and grow our economy."

As ACLU wrote, the lawsuit charges that the new law discriminates by categorically denying domestic partners access to benefits and violates the constitutional right to equal protection by forcing gay and lesbian employees in committed relationships to carry the financial hardship and anxiety of being uninsured, while allowing heterosexual couples to marry and receive family health protections.

In addition, the law only bars domestic partners from receiving health care coverage, while allowing government employers to offer benefits to all other family members, including parents, siblings, uncles and cousins.

"It’s unconstitutional for the state of Michigan to deprive a small number of workers the means to take care of their loved ones when other similarly situated workers do have access to family coverage," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT Project. "In an economic downturn, the state should be passing laws to make it easier for families to take care of each other, not to take protections away."

 

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