Ann Arbor Council Backs Opposition to PA 297

At its Jan. 23, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council passed a resolution opposing Michigan’s Public Act 297, which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2011. The act prohibits public employers from providing employee medical and fringe benefits to those who are not married to an employee, a dependent of the employee, or eligible to inherit from the employee under the laws of intestate succession. [.pdf of PA 297]

It’s not legal in Michigan for same-sex couples to marry. PA 297 thus effectively eliminates the possibility of providing benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

Ann Arbor provides employee benefits to “other qualified adults,” a definition that includes same-sex domestic partners. [.pdf of Ann Arbor employee retirement system definition of other qualified adult] Nine current or retired city of Ann Arbor employees are impacted by PA 297.

Before the bill was signed, the council – at its Sept. 19, 2011 meeting – passed a resolution calling on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder not to sign the bill into law.

On Jan. 5, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in U.S. district court against Snyder on behalf of four couples. Four of the eight plaintiffs are residents of Ann Arbor. The public employer for the two Ann Arbor couples is the Ann Arbor Public Schools. [.pdf of complaint against Rick Snyder] The resolution directs the Ann Arbor city attorney to assist the ACLU in the lawsuit in whatever way is useful, including filing an amicus brief.

The resolution approved by the Ann Arbor city council on Jan. 23 also cites Ann Arbor’s history of commitment to non-discrimination and protections for those of all sexual orientations. [.pdf of Ann Arbor's non-discrimination ordinance]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]