State Employees' Domestic Partners Will Get Health Benefits

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

The Michigan Civil Service Commission voted Wednesday to extend health benefits to domestic partners of state employees.

"The UAW 6000 is glad to see the Civil Service Commission lived up to their agreement," Ray Holman of UAW 6000 said.

It's an issue that was negotiated by the Granholm Administration with state employee unions more than six years ago, but the legality of certain words stalled the process.

Wednesday's agreement names "domestic partners" as those now eligible which includes any live-in boyfriends or girlfriends of state workers 18 years and older -- same-sex or opposite sex -- who've lived with state workers for at least a year.

The new governor questions the cost of it all. Gov. Snyder's spokeswoman said during a challenging budget year, now is not a good time to add to the bottom line, and that money will have to come from somewhere else.

But there are others who said, something like this is long overdue.

"It means people can get health care they wouldn't get otherwise because of the cost of health care," Penny Gardner said.

Gardner knows how those state workers feel, her employer MSU offers similar benefits the state just approved, but her partner is not covered because Gardner only works part-time.

"She doesn't have any coverage right now," Gardner said. "I know what its like having to make choices others don't have to make."

Gardner's also the president of a local LGBT advocacy group and she calls this move by the Civil Service Commission a "great break through."

"I think it's very positive, but it's only a first step," she said.

The benefits for domestic partners do not kick in until October of this year.

The union contract expires at the end of the year, where it leaves this benefit during the bargaining process with the new administration remains to be seen. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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