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Michigan court counters health benefits for gay couples

Michigan Health benefits gay partners Loss in Court 2007

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#21 Caithness

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:03 PM

I'll be honest- I only read about one sentence of that thing.
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#22 Broph

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 01:09 PM

View PostJuris Rovvius, on Feb 8 2007, 04:59 PM, said:

Quote

Mel: The rules of the insurance company didn't change. State law (through a Constitutional amendment did) potentially making it illegal for employers to cover same sex domestic partners.
Not to nitpick, but that's a problem for *public* employers. A private employer is free to make any arrangement it wishes.

The amendment doesn't say anything about public/private employers, though:

Quote

STATE CONSTITUTION (EXCERPT)
CONSTITUTION OF MICHIGAN OF 1963


25 Marriage.

Sec. 25.

To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, 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.


#23 Peridot

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 10:39 PM

View PostJuris Rovvius, on Feb 8 2007, 05:41 AM, said:

Having read the case, I think the opinion is about right. Here's the text of the amendment:

Quote

"To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, 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."

The court's analysis of what 'recognize' means is, to me, quite good. If the amendment is constitutionally valid (and it is), then this is the right result. Obviously, the next step is to oppose the amendment. There's an election in 18 months. Get to work, Michiganites.

I do understand your point, Rov.  An appeals court can make an accurate call on a bad law, and I don't blame the court, but the amendment itself.  When I originally saw the amendment, it was clear to me that the wording had been specifically designed to be as exclusionary as possible.

So I'm not totally surprised by this court decision.  But I am definitely unhappy.

BTW...

For those who are interested, here's the link to the Yahoo article, which is a couple of days earlier than the one in the first post---which is from a Michigan paper. :rolleyes:

http://news.yahoo.co...WtkBHNlYwM3MTg-


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#24 Peridot

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 11:13 PM

View PostLin731, on Feb 8 2007, 05:27 AM, said:

I'm not happy about it either, I'd expect a bit better from our home state. I wonder what those Conservatived that "lauded" the decision are so happy about? You have 4 kids NOT costing the state money and stuck in foster care (one with disabilities) and these folks are lauding the potential loss of insurance coverage for the partner that was caring for the disabled child and now will need to find fulltime employement??? How do they profess to care about families and laud such a decision?

Possibly they only care about families that look like their families.  Possibly it's not that they don't care, but that they are absolutely unable to conceptualize that there really are gay families out there, with real, live human children in them, who are at risk of being really hurt. :Oo:

I am guessing--though I do not know for certain---that the four children may be a sibling group.  It can be difficult to place siblings together--even people interested in adoption may not be interested in four kids, or may not be able to take that many in.  Each family, each couple that is willing to adopt this many children is a precious resource.  And this amendment is not only a strike at gay and lesbian couples, I see it as a blow to social workers who are trying to place the many children who need permanent homes...and a strike against those kids as well.  :unsure:

View PostenTranced, on Feb 8 2007, 03:48 PM, said:

View Postwiggy, on Feb 8 2007, 01:46 PM, said:

It's unfortunate there is no Heaven or Hell because these people who are "protecting" us from the evils of Homosexuals would get a shock when some gay guy (who's lived a loving, caring, selfless life raising unwanted kids and sharing himself with a partner he trully loves) goes to Heaven....  and Mr Right Wing Conservative "I hate Fags" ends up with the devil prodding him in the backside for eternity.

I was raised a Methodist so I disagree about the first part of your statement but you are dead on as to the second half.

God may be a lot of things, but he is not a bigot.

So, if you will forgive me, PREACH IT!

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What eT said---'cept that I was not raised Methodist.


View PostSpectacles, on Feb 8 2007, 04:21 PM, said:

I agree with Rov that denying benefits to families of gay/lesbian state employees is a logical. legal consequence of these damnable marriage amendments that more than twenty states have passed since 2004.

This is precisely why people--straight and gay--should rally against these amendments when they are put on their states' ballots.

I think there actually was an effort in Michigan to rally opposition to the amendment.  Problem is, there was also an effort to rally support. *sigh*  The only effect my "No" vote had was to make the percentage against the amendment one vote greater.

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#25 wiggy

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:15 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 8 2007, 01:46 PM, said:

It's unfortunate there is no Heaven or Hell

I shall rephrase that to "Unfortunately I don't believe in Heaven or Hell"

Surely when someone takes out an Inusrance Policy they are asked to name those people it will cover?  I know when I take out Insurance  Home/Car/Life etc I've always put my Katie's name on it and there's always a box asking whether we're married or not (not btw) and there is usually somewhere that they want her date of birth, gender etc.....

if an insurance company accepts a document like that how can they possibly say afterwards "oh but we don't insure bummers or lezzers, we'll take the premiums but we won't pay up"

#26 Mel

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:29 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 9 2007, 03:15 PM, said:

View Postwiggy, on Feb 8 2007, 01:46 PM, said:

It's unfortunate there is no Heaven or Hell

I shall rephrase that to "Unfortunately I don't believe in Heaven or Hell"

Surely when someone takes out an Inusrance Policy they are asked to name those people it will cover?  I know when I take out Insurance  Home/Car/Life etc I've always put my Katie's name on it and there's always a box asking whether we're married or not (not btw) and there is usually somewhere that they want her date of birth, gender etc.....

if an insurance company accepts a document like that how can they possibly say afterwards "oh but we don't insure bummers or lezzers, we'll take the premiums but we won't pay up"

Health insurance is very specific about who they will and won't cover.  As a general rule that includes spouses and children, period.  Sometimes they will include common-law spouses and/or domestic partners, but not always.  Children are usually covered until they are eighteen, unless they are a full time student, then they can often be covered until 23 or 24 (these rules vary by policy, but among decent group policies are fairly standard).  Usually they can be covered indefinetely if they are permanently disabled and being supported by the parents.  You can't just list who you want them to cover.  If you list someone ineligible (ie you say someone is your spouse or child and they aren't legally) that is actually a type of fraud and I'm pretty sure the company can sue you.  

Car insurance will often let you add non-family drivers onto your policy.  Health insurance doesn't work like that at all.

#27 wiggy

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:37 PM

People take out Medical Insurance without having a definitive list of who it covers?  

We have free health care in the UK (well, they take a big chunk out of my salary each month in case I ever use it) but if I took out insurance I'd want it in black & white who and what it actually covers.

#28 Mel

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:44 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 9 2007, 03:37 PM, said:

People take out Medical Insurance without having a definitive list of who it covers?  

We have free health care in the UK (well, they take a big chunk out of my salary each month in case I ever use it) but if I took out insurance I'd want it in black & white who and what it actually covers.

You know before you take it out who it covers.  The problem in this particular case is that the law changed after these people had taken out the health insurance.  An amendment was passed to the State Constitution which in the opinion of this court (and it's probably a valid opinion) made it no longer legal for public (ie state or local government employers) to offer health insurance to domestic partners.  It's a very unusual situation.  The insurance companies didn't just change their mind.  The legal situation changed.

#29 Anastashia

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 08:48 PM

Wiggy another thing you might not realize is that the employer is paying a portion of the premium in effect lowering the premium for their employees and their bona fide "dependents". So those employers don't necessarily have the desire to pay for insurance for just anyone the employee might want to add to their policy.
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#30 Peridot

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:10 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 9 2007, 10:15 PM, said:

Surely when someone takes out an Inusrance Policy they are asked to name those people it will cover?  I know when I take out Insurance  Home/Car/Life etc I've always put my Katie's name on it and there's always a box asking whether we're married or not (not btw) and there is usually somewhere that they want her date of birth, gender etc.....


View Postwiggy, on Feb 9 2007, 10:37 PM, said:

People take out Medical Insurance without having a definitive list of who it covers?  

We have free health care in the UK (well, they take a big chunk out of my salary each month in case I ever use it) but if I took out insurance I'd want it in black & white who and what it actually covers.


Oh...I think I see why it's not making sense to you.  

In the US we don't have universal free health care.  Because of this, very often health care insurance is provided as part of a "package" of employee benefits.  (Sometimes people will even go on a strike to get better health care coverage, if as a group they don't feel their employer is providing good enough insurance).  So it's often not a matter of taking out insurance, but that rather that the insurance is provided through the employer.

For example, when I want life insurance coverage, or insurance for my house or vehicle, that is something that I and my spouse choose, and we name who it will cover, or who would be the beneficiaries, just as you mention above relative to your partner.  But our health insurance is through my spouse's place of work; we don't choose it individually, though the employees can vote as a group.

So the ruling doesn't prevent insurance companies from offering insurance to gay and lesbian couples, what it prevents is certain employers from offering insurance to those couples, as part of their employee benefits.  

Here are some of the institutions affected by the ruling, according to a slightly more recent article:

Quote

Public employees/employers affected

University of Michigan 201
Michigan State University 54
Wayne State University 24
City of Ann Arbor 20-25
Eastern Michigan University 19
Ann Arbor Public Schools 15
Washtenaw County 11
Central Michigan University 10
Ingham County 6
City of Kalamazoo 5
Saginaw Valley State University 4
Northern Michigan University 3
Lansing Community College 3
Oakland University Under 10
Huron Valley Schools Unclear
Washtenaw Community College Unclear
Birmingham Public Schools Unclear
Private businesses, AFAIK, are not affected by the ruling; they can choose whether or not they want to provide health care coverage for gay and lesbian partners.  But public universites and other public employers are prohibited from doing so under the ruling.

And as Mel has said, the law---or in some cases its interpretation---changed after the health insurance coverage had already been initiated.

Article link:

http://www.lansingst...D=2007702080339

Anyway....does that make more sense now? At least in the sense of  how it is that the ruling is affecting people?  

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#31 wiggy

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:29 PM

Ok, the whole insurance thing is making a bit more sense now thanks guys. :)

So when these employers opt out of giving gay workers the same benefits as their other workers why don't all the gay workers leave and then everyone who is gay, or has gay friends etc boycott them, refuse to buy their products etc?

I'm still completely baffled as to why anyone else cares what consenting adult do and actually go out of their way to cause people hardship because they happen to love someone with the same downstairs plumbing!

Sorry if that's a simplistic reply but I've had a headache for the last few days and I'm not fully compus mentus

#32 Mel

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:47 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 10 2007, 02:29 PM, said:

Ok, the whole insurance thing is making a bit more sense now thanks guys. :)

So when these employers opt out of giving gay workers the same benefits as their other workers why don't all the gay workers leave and then everyone who is gay, or has gay friends etc boycott them, refuse to buy their products etc?

I'm still completely baffled as to why anyone else cares what consenting adult do and actually go out of their way to cause people hardship because they happen to love someone with the same downstairs plumbing!

Sorry if that's a simplistic reply but I've had a headache for the last few days and I'm not fully compus mentus

Again, in this particular case, it's not the employers decision.  The voters of the state of Michigan chose to pass a law making it impossible for certain employers (public ones) in Michigan to offer these benefits.

However, in a more general sense, people often do choose where they work at least partially based on what benefits (including health insurance) are available.  This can be good or bad for workers.  Companies that offer good benefits may have an easier time finding and keeping good employees.  However, one big problem for workers in the US is that it can be hard to leave a job where they have health care benefits until they have found another job with benefits.  Even if they could afford to change jobs or maybe stay at home with their kids, if they are the adult providing benefits, they may be stuck in a job they hate simply to have insurance.  There is something of a safety net in a provision called COBRA that lets you keep your insurance for up to 18 months after you leave your job, but you have to pay all of the premiums and without the employer subsidy they are too high for most people to afford.

#33 Bobby

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:55 PM

View Postwiggy, on Feb 10 2007, 02:29 PM, said:

Ok, the whole insurance thing is making a bit more sense now thanks guys. :)

So when these employers opt out of giving gay workers the same benefits as their other workers why don't all the gay workers leave and then everyone who is gay, or has gay friends etc boycott them, refuse to buy their products etc?

I'm still completely baffled as to why anyone else cares what consenting adult do and actually go out of their way to cause people hardship because they happen to love someone with the same downstairs plumbing!

Sorry if that's a simplistic reply but I've had a headache for the last few days and I'm not fully compus mentus


The people passing the bans/amendments usually do so because it's based on their religious convictions.  I highly doubt there would be enough people do do a boycott, walkout or anything else to have any major effect.  If you believe the high estimate that 10% of the population is gay, that would be somewhere around thirty million gay people in the U.S. but that may be higher given so many self loathing closet cases or somewhat lower.  I think the number is probably about right, because with the way these amendments are being passed and people are carrying on there must be a gay person on every corner.  Here in Tennessee, the ban passed with over a million in favor of it and a little over three hundred thousand voting against it.  So, no, we gays are subject to religious tyranny for the moment.  A man on the news they interviewed about how he was going to vote said, "I'm was raised a Southern Baptist, so there won't be any gay marriages in Tennessee."  

So sad about the family losing their benefits, I guess it could be worse, they could decide not to let them raise children.  That'll probably be happening soon.

Edited by Life for Rent, 10 February 2007 - 03:57 PM.




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