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Michigan court hears arguments on domestic partner benefits

[JURIST] A Michigan court heard arguments from attorneys representing 21 gay couples and Governor Jennifer Granholm [official profile] Tuesday, who argued that the state's constitution [PDF text] does not prevent local governments and universities from extending benefits to the domestic partners of gay employees. A constitutional amendment [local coverage of amendment] approved by voters in 2004 made the union between a man and a woman the only agreement recognized as a marriage "or similar union for any purpose." The attorneys for the couples argue that benefits such as health insurance are employment benefits and do not endorse a marriage-like relationship. In March, state Attorney General Mike Cox issued an opinion [text] that the amendment's language barred public employers from offering domestic partner benefits. AP has more.

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