State Representative Jeff Irwin sent out the following note earlier this afternoon.
House Republicans vote to ban domestic partner benefits: Moments ago, the House passed HB 4770 which – if signed by Governor Snyder – will make it illegal for governments, schools and universities to offer domestic partner benefits. If signed, HB 4770 will immediately revoke benefits from hundreds of Michigan families and their children. In addition to the intolerance exhibited by my House Republican colleagues, this immediate revocation of health care gives these families no time to plan an orderly transition to avoid a gap in coverage. The good news is that the bill is obviously unconsitutional with respect to universities and local government and there will likely be a long court battle which may result in overturning the law. The bad news is that this court battle is likely to cost us all more than providing the benefits.
Fortunately, there’s reason to believe that Governor Snyder will stand up to the old-school homophobes within his party, and do the right thing. At least, he’s given indications in the past that he might not be afraid to do so. The following clip comes from a post I wrote back in May of this year entitled, “Snyder Stops Party from Punishing Public Universities Offering Benefits to Domestic Partners“:
…In other promising news, it’s being reported by the Gongwer News Service that Snyder’s legal counsel has informed the Senate and House leaders that proposed bills to financially penalize universities for pursuing embryonic stem cell research and offering benefits to the unmarried partners of employees are “unconstitutional and unenforceable”…
Here, in case any of you would like to either write or call Governor Snyder, and encourage him to do the right thing, is his contact information.
Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services
I know we’ve discussed this before, but this isn’t just a question of civil rights. It’s also a question of economics. Michigan, as it attempts to pull itself out of depression, cannot afford to be so grotesquely bigoted. As you’ll recall, we are one of only two states in the nation that lost population last year. We are in no position to be telling gay Michiganders that we don’t want them here. This would be particularly harmful to our institutions of higher learning, that would find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain the nation’s top faculty and researchers. (It’s hard enough to convince people to move to Michigan.) I’d like to think that Snyder would veto this on moral grounds alone, but, even if he doesn’t care about things like equality, I’ve got to think that the economic argument would resonate with him. As we’ve heard again and again on this site, people will leave if this is allowed to become law, and we cannot allow this to happen.