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House approves ban on live-in partner benefits

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network



The state House has approved measures that would forbid public employers from offering benefits that cover the live-in partners of public employees. As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, Republicans say public employers should not be allowed to use live-in partner benefits to cover people in same-sex relationships.

The measures passed on largely party-line votes. Democratic state Representative Joan Bauer says the state, local governments, school districts, and public universities should be allowed to follow the example set by many private sector businesses that offer domestic partner benefits.

"It's extremely short-sighted and rather hypocritical to now deny our public employers the ability to use all the tools in the toolbox to attract the best and brightest workers," she says.

Republicans argued that public employers use live-in partner benefits to skirt the intent of Michigan's voter-approved amendment that outlaws gay marriage and civil unions.

The bills now go to the state Senate.

Republicans failed earlier this year to reject state worker contracts that include benefits for same-sex or heterosexual couples that live together.

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