Sunday, July 07, 2013

Michigan Federal District Court Preliminarily Enjoins Ban On Health Benefits to Domestic Partners--Claiming Title of First to Cite Windsor

In Bassett v. Snyder, (ED MI, June 28, 2013), a Michigan federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of Michigan's Public Act 297 that prohibits public employers from providing medical and other fringe benefits to same-sex partners of state employees. Finding plaintiffs have standing, the court went on to hold that:
The plaintiffs have stated a viable and likely successful equal protection claim. They have provided strong evidence that the discriminatory classification established by Public Act 297 is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.
In reaching its conclusion, the court several times cited the then only 2-day old U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  This makes it the first case to cite the Windsor opinion, proving inaccurate my earlier posting that awarded the first-to-cite distinction to another Michigan judge in a case denying dismissal of a challenge to Michigan's ban on adoptions by same-sex couples. ACLU issued a press release announcing the decision. [Thanks to Michael Worley for the lead.]