By John Jalsevac
May 8, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Michigan Supreme Court handed down a ruling yesterday that said that the state’s constitutional amendment in defense of traditional marriage forbids local governments and state universities from providing health benefits normally reserved to married couples to homosexual partners.
The majority opinion was held by a solid majority of 5-2.
The plaintiffs in the case, including 21 homosexual couples, argued that the Michigan marriage amendment only referred to the granting of marriage specifically, whereas offering benefits to same-sex couples is not equal to recognizing same-sex partnerships as marriage.
Rusty Hills, attorney general spokesperson, however, said, "The benefits flow from marriage, and you can’t really substitute something that’s an alternative to marriage based on a law that’s been passed in Michigan."
The majority wrote that the lower appeals court, which had originally ruled that same-sex couples could be given health benefits, "held that providing health-insurance benefits to domestic partners does not violate the marriage amendment because public employers are not recognizing domestic partnerships as unions similar to marriage, given the significant distinctions between the legal effects accorded to these two unions."
"However," the majority continued, "given that the marriage amendment prohibits the recognition of unions similar to marriage ‘for any purpose,’ the pertinent question is not whether these unions give rise to all of the same legal effects; rather, it is whether these unions are being recognized as unions similar to marriage ‘for any purpose.’
"We conclude that the marriage amendment which states that ‘the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose,’ prohibits public employers from providing health-insurance benefits to their employees’ qualified same-sex domestic partners."
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law-firm which was instrumental in drafting the language of the Michigan marriage amendment commented, "The Law Center applauds the courageous actions of Michigan Attorney General Michael A. Cox for defending the will of the people. Unfortunately, the same accolades cannot be given to the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, who decided to abrogate her responsibilities as the chief executive officer of the state by withdrawing her name and office from upholding the law, and then changing sides - siding with the homosexual groups that opposed the amendment."
Thompson also decried the efforts of several publicly financed universities, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and Wayne State Universities, which sided with the homosexual groups and used tax dollars in an attempt to go against the marriage amendment.
Thompson went on to say, "The language that the Law Center helped craft for this Amendment has proven to be the model for the rest of the country on how to protect traditional marriage. This ruling not only affirms the lower court ruling, but affirms the institution of marriage. In effect, it strengthens the institution and will preserve it for generations to come."
Michigan citizens voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to adopt a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, by nearly 60%. The amendment is intended to prohibit courts or other efforts to impose same-sex marriage, polygamy, or any other form of counterfeit "marriage" on the state.