To: The Michigan State Senate and Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Vote Against Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefits Restriction Act

The Michigan House of Representatives recently passed HB 4770, The Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefits Restriction Act, and HB 4771, an amendment to 1947 PA 336. These bills are not only morally reprehensible but are also economically myopic.

The extension of benefits to domestic partners is an increasing trend in the private and public sector both nationally and internationally. To implement this policy would drive gay and gay-friendly staff and faculty out of Michigan's universities to states with more acceptable benefit laws in place. Additionally, prohibiting the collective bargaining for domestic partner benefits would affect a hostile, anti-union environment that would be prohibitive for recruiting the new employees with the appropriate level of skill, training, and experience necessary to replace those lost in the exodus that would result from this legislation. Simply put, this legislation would be yet another staggering blow to Michigan's punch-drunk economy.

The intention of this legislation represents nothing less than an unconscionable attack on the rights of Michigan's gay and lesbian citizens. This legislation purposefully and disproportionately affects the ability of individuals of a minority sexual orientation to access affordable healthcare. Furthermore, the amendment proposed in HB 4771 that restricts the ability of public employees to bargain collectively for the extension of benefits to domestic partners advances an anti-union agenda at the expense of an already oft-abused and marginalized population.

We call on our elected officials in the Michigan Senate to protect the Michigan economy by defending Michigan's public employees without regard to sexual orientation or marital status. We ask that our senators vote against the discriminatory and gay-bashing Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefits Restriction Act (HB 4770) when it comes before the Michigan Senate. We ask that our senators demonstrate their foresight and moral fiber in preserving access to affordable medical benefits for the domestic partners of Michigan's public employees. Further, we urge Governor Snyder to condemn this gay-bashing legislation with a promise of veto should it come to his desk.

Why is this important?

Recently, the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 4770, the Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefits Restriction Act, and HB 4771, an amendment to 1947 PA 336. Together, these bills seek not only to prevent our universities and colleges, schools and public services from providing health benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, but they also seek to strip health benefits from people who have already negotiated contracts extending these benefits to domestic partners. This legislation is not only morally reprehensible but also economically myopic.

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