LANSING, Mich. — Republicans in the Michigan Legislature this week approved a resolution that seeks to overturn a decision to extend state-paid health insurance coverage to same-sex partners of state employees.
The resolution by the Senate’s Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee would reject the domestic partner benefits awarded in a decision earlier this year by the Michigan Civil Service Commission.
The measure now goes to the Senate floor.
Opponents argued the resolution to eliminate the benefit program was about financial management of the state, not about social issues.
“Some people will say this is a social issue,” said Jan Winters, who runs the Office of the State Employer. “This is about cost… We don’t have the funds to cover a benefit that could be in the tens of millions of dollars.”
The total projected cost of the unmarried partner benefit is approximately .003 percent (three one-thousandths of a percent) of this year’s estimated deficit.
The resolution is expected to have no issues passing in the Senate, where the GOP has a super majority. But it will face an uphill climb in the House, where the GOP is the majority, but needs 74 votes to pass the resolution. The GOP majority is 63 Republicans to 47 Democrats.
That means Republicans will need the support of 11 Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority needed to override the Michigan Civil Service Commission decision.
The benefits are scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.