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Jones to unmarried state workers: "Put a ring on it," or lose benefits

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Some state lawmakers want to stop unmarried state employees from getting health insurance benefits for domestic partners.

Nearly a decade ago, the state of Michigan expanded benefits coverage as a way to accommodate same-sex couples who couldn’t legally marry.   But the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015.

State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says the state is still spending more than a million dollars a year on benefits for unmarried couples.

“I leave it up to people to decide if they want to be married,” says Jones. “But, if you want the benefits, if you want it, put a ring on it.”

Under Jones’ proposal, children of state employees would still get health insurance. It would only stop benefits for the unmarried domestic partner.  Jones submitted a similar bill two years ago.

Jones hopes the legislature will act on the bill this fall. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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