Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 3, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 05/03/2013

Top court won’t hear domestic partner case

LANSING — Same-sex domestic partners of state employees will continue to qualify for health insurance after the Michigan Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal filed by the state.

In a short order released Thursday and dated Wednesday, justices unanimously said they were not persuaded they should review the case.

Over the objections of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, the state Civil Service Commission in 2011 voted to have the state health insurance plan cover non-family members who have lived continuously with state workers for at least a year. GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette sued, saying the move was unconstitutional.

In January, a divided state appeals court upheld an Ingham County judge in ruling that the policy does not conflict with Michigan’s 2004 gay marriage ban that also prohibits the recognition of “similar” unions. The appeals court said it is not the place of courts to second-guess the wisdom of state action, and it is clear state workers can share benefits with a wide variety of other people besides only a gay partner.

Schuette unsuccessfully appealed to the Republican-controlled high court.

House passes measure to allow wolf hunt

LANSING — The Republican-led state House passed legislation Thursday that could block voters from deciding whether to allow wolf hunting in Michigan.

The measure, which passed on a 72-38 vote with bipartisan support, would give the governor-appointed Natural Resources Commission the power to decide which types of wildlife can be hunted. Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk is the bill’s next stop, and his spokeswoman said he intends to sign the bill, pending final review.

Supporters of the bill say it protects residents in rural Upper Peninsula communities whose safety is threatened by the growing wolf population, while keeping out-of-state special interest groups from determining Michigan policies.

But opponents contend the measure, which passed the Republican-led Senate last week, is a way around a proposed referendum on wolf hunting.

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