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Domestic partners head to court for health benefits


Five gay and lesbian couples head to federal court in Detroit on Tuesday. They're fighting to win back health coverage for domestic partners of public employees.

One of the couples is Peter Ways and his partner, Joe Breakey. Peter works for the Ann Arbor school district, which like other local public employers, isn't allowed to cover the domestic partners of their staff.

That's thanks to a recent state law. Proponents say the law could save the state several million dollars each year. But the ACLU says it's unconstitutional. 

John Knight is an attorney representing the five couples. "They have effectively singled out same-sex couples and said no, you can't get them. We're gonna both tell you you can't marry, and we're gonna go even further and say you can't get even these basic benefits."

The attorney general's office declined to comment, because litigation is pending. Public universities and most state employees are exempt from the ban.


Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.