John M. Becker

Citing Windsor, Michigan Judge Strikes Down Anti-Gay Law

Filed By John M. Becker | June 30, 2013 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: DOMA, Michigan, Supreme Court

michigan.gifCiting Wednesday's Supreme Court decision overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal judge in Michigan temporarily prevented from taking effect a state law that forbids school districts and local governments from offering health benefits to domestic partners of public employees.

The decision, by U.S. District Judge David S. Lawson, states that the plaintiffs made a "plausible claim" that the denial of benefits violates the Fifth Amendment. Lawson writes:

"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."

The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, notes:

"Judge Lawson recognized, as the Supreme Court did, that the Constitution forbids the government from passing laws with a motive to discriminate against gay people. This is the first federal court decision applying the Supreme Court's reasoning to protect same-sex couples from discrimination in other contexts."

Several efforts are also underway to repeal the state's 2004 constitutional marriage discrimination amendment.

Welcome to the new post-Windsor legal landscape, folks!

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