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Federal Judge Slaps Down Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder – Cites The DOMA Decision

by Jean Ann Esselink on July 2, 2013

in DOMA,Jean Ann Esselink,Legislation,News

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Although he claims he never thinks about them, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been a thorn in the side of the LGBT community. When Public Act 297, was passed by the Republican majority Michigan House and Senate, the governor signed it, registered it with the Michigan Secretary of State, and put it into effect all in the same day. Public Act 297, entitled by its authors, the “Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act” told same-sex spouses of all public employees — I don’t care what my predecessor Governor Granholm promised you, or what your union contract says, your health insurance is going away.

Five same-sex partners sued the governor. They complained Gov. Snyder had violated their rights of equal protection, and of due process. Friday, Judge David Lawson, who is hearing the case, enjoined Public Act 297 from being enacted, citing the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision.

Judge Lawson:

The Court takes guidance from the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating DOMA, which determined legislative purpose by looking to the “history of . . . enactment” and the statute’s “own text.” Looking to the history and text of Public Act 297, it is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose — indeed, perhaps the sole purpose — of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. But that “can never be a legitimate governmental purpose.”

Judge Lawson’s order goes on to predict that after the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, the five same-sex couples who filed the suit are likely to prevail at trial. The Court therefor enjoined the law from being enacted before the case can be litigated. This order by the judge ensures no spouse in a same-sex marriage to a public employee will lose their health insurance before the full case is litigated.

april and jayne 2Judge Lawson is believed to have been the first jurist to cite as precedent, the Supreme Court “DOMA” case — Windsor v. U.S. — in issuing a decision from the bench. He is definitely not the last. Yesterday, another Michigan Judge, Bernard Freidman, allowed the case of Jayne and April DeBoer-Rowse v. Governor Snyder and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schutte, to proceed. The couple (right, with their three children) are challenging the 2004 amendment to the Michigan Constitution that bars gay and lesbian couples from marrying, and keeps same-sex couples from both adopting the children in their families.

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{ 6 comments }

BJLincoln July 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm

I hope couples in every discriminatory state sues their state for equal marriage and anti-discrimination laws.
The death of DOMA will ripple across the country and change laws quickly. The problem will be changing minds as fast. I'm afraid the opposition will be out in full force and their hate and lies will create more violence and harm to LGBT people before it's over.

Larry & Patrick July 3, 2013 at 12:03 am

We are winning the WAR folks……so sorry to the Religious Tryannists but I am guaranteed redress and protection from your bullshit.

tgflux July 3, 2013 at 4:32 am

Kick @ss! Snyder needs to be given the boot, ASAP!

sdfrenchie July 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

When I left Michigan many years ago, the people there were tough, yet good-natured. How in the hell they ever got such bad government is beyond me. I hope the state will get some decent officials with their next elections; people who care about the people AND the state. The stories I've heard about what people have to deal with there are heartbreaking. It's such a beautiful state and they just run it into hell.

Scream & holler until you get your way, Wolverines! To take shit from those Republican morons is against your nature! Turn that state around to the booming, healthy, happy place it used to be.

Askalice59 July 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Really Frenchie, I'm glad you are so positive about Michigan….but….I've lived here my whole life and am thinking of leaving the state. Michigan is one of the most segregated places in the country. Find a population by race map and see. Racism is rampant. There is a huge division in income, and we are hugely divided politically which, is like most of the country. All that said, why would we treat the LGBT population any better? Snyder will not get a second term. It's taken since the 1950's to really get Michigan's backward thought processes so entrenched and it will take more than any single governor can do to straighten it out. The people themselves need to see the truth and vote accordingly.

tkmlac July 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Sunday at Pride in SF there were people holding signs, "We're winning equality." So awesome to see the ruling from last week already making waves.

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