LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan state Senate committee on Wednesday approved a pair of bills that would eliminate eliminate health care benefits for unmarried partners of public employees across the state.
House Bills 4770 and 4771, approved by the Committee on Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing, would also prohibit any government entity in the state from providing such benefits, and prohibit unions from including them in collective bargaining agreements.
Emily Dievendorf, Director of Policy for Equality Michigan, released this statement:
“Republican lawmakers continue to attack hardworking gay and transgender people rather than focusing on real issues. They are ignoring best practices in business and promoting a hostile environment for gay and lesbian couples. We hope that voters questions where lawmakers’ real priorities are.”
“Tens of thousands of public and private employees in our state have access to health care benefits for domestic partners – this legislation, if passed, would have a devastating impact. This is a crucial issue for Michigan – do we really want to be known as a state with such a regressive legislature that we deny equal access to health care benefits?
Michigan Republicans are ready to close the door for gay and lesbian couples who want to live here – even if it means dictating human resources policy for local governments.”
Several public entities, representing tens of thousands of workers, currently provide such benefits for domestic partners of employees, including the State of Michigan, at least 10 public universities, at least 5 city and county governments, and at least 3 public school districts.
The Michigan House of Representatives passed the bills by a vote of 64-44 in September.