Thursday, April 14, 2011

MI House Republicans Can't Keep Story Straight on Same-Sex Partner Benefits Ban

Get it? Can't keep the story straight? There's a little funny for you in the wake of today's victory against the forces of bigotry.

Remember when the Snyder administration and the Republicans in the Legislature wanted to overturn the Civil Service Commission decision to extend health care benefits for unmarried partners of state employees? In an attempt to hide the inner homophobe and appear "moderate", they wanted to claim it was all about the Benjamins. Here's the Snyder administration in January:

"We've very concerned, because something that costs millions of dollars is something the state of Michigan cannot afford right now," (new director of the Office of the State Employer Jan) Winters told the commission, citing a projected $1.8 billion deficit for the next fiscal year. "If we spend the additional money, we're going to have to figure out where it's coming from."

It's just a budget thing. Honest.

Here are the House Republicans in March:

The House must pass the concurrent resolution by April 18 to overturn the Civil Service Commission ruling. It would not have to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, and would be effective immediately.

"We have until mid-April to deal with this, so the issue isn't done with yet," said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

The issue was debated heatedly on the House floor today. A number of Republican representatives passionately urged the chamber to approve the resolution, saying Michigan can't afford health care for domestic partners at a time when others are being asked to make sacrifices to balance the budget. Opponents say the measure would cost the state $6 million to $8 million annually.

See? Money. Who cares if those partners might have to go on Medicaid and cost us money anyway, it's about the money. Really it is.

Until today.

State House Republican leaders failed to muster enough votes to reverse health benefits for the live-in partners of state employees. The new policy will treat unmarried employees with live-in partners the same as married employees, and it will apply to people in same-sex relationships. A two-thirds majority vote is required to reverse the contracts approved by the state Civil Service Commission.

G-O-P lawmakers said the Civil Service Commission decision undermines “traditional families” and violates the intent of a voter-approved amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions in Michigan.

House Speaker Jase Bolger says he is looking for other avenues to block the new policy from taking effect October first.

"I’m going to continue to explore the legality of their decision. I believe they made an end run around the constitution. I’m not an attorney, but I’m going to consult with attorneys to see if something can be done about their illegal decision,” Bolger said.

Ah. It was "teh gay" all along.

Knew it.