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ACLU sues Governor Snyder over benefits ban

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is suing Governor Snyder over the state’s new law banning domestic partner benefits.

Snyder signed the controversial law just before Christmas.

It prohibits school districts, counties and other public employers from extending health insurance coverage to employees’ unmarried domestic partners. State universities are exempted.

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of four couples. One plaintiff is Doak Bloss of East Lansing, whose partner of 18 years stands to lose his benefits under the new law.

 “Even though the financial implications of that are important--it will cost us $8-10,000 a year to make sure that we both have adequate health care coverage in the future--what really hurts is that message, that this is a place where you are not welcome,” Bloss says.

The ACLU says the ban is “wrong, discriminatory, and unconstitutional” because it singles out gays and lesbians.

“This law serves no purpose other than to single out a small minority of people, and deprive them of critical protections that are available to all other family members,” says ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan.

A federal Appeals Court struck down a similar Arizona law recently.

Snyder and other backers saythe law is just another in a series of measures to address “the spiraling costs of health care.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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