Ban on Same-sex Benefits Back in Court

DETROIT (AP) -- A judge will hear arguments in a challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex benefits for workers in public schools and local governments.

Detroit federal Judge David Lawson stopped the law with an injunction last summer, saying it illegally discriminates against gays and lesbians. He compared the state's defense of the law to the "force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish."

Lawson has scheduled arguments for Tuesday before making a final decision. But the state is asking him to put the case on hold until a challenge to Michigan's ban on gay marriage is settled.

Schools and local governments can't offer health insurance to the unmarried partners of employees -- gay or heterosexual.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the law is mean-spirited. The state says it saves money for communities.