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ACLU Sues Over Ban On Domestic Partner Benefits

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit claiming the constitutional rights of four same-sex couples are being violated by a new Michigan law that bars insurance for some domestic partners.

The ban mostly affects local governments and public schools and applies to health insurance and other benefits for unmarried partners of the employees, same sex or not.

The lawsuit filed Thursday says there’s no compelling interest in denying benefits for domestic partners when heterosexual partners get the same perks. Plaintiffs in the case work for Ann Arbor schools, the city of Kalamazoo and Ingham County.

ACLU Attorney Jay Kaplan said the suit has been filed on behalf of gay and lesbian public employees who are similary situated to other employees “in that their emplolyment is no less demanding and no less valuable.”

ACLU Attorney Michael Steinberg called the law a “cruel and unusual” act, adding that a similar law in Arizona has already been quashed.

Supporters say the law saves tax dollars and follows the spirit of a statewide vote in 2004 in which Michigan residents defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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