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Law & Courts Update

Here's an interesting court decision which for obvious reasons will not make the front page of USA Today:

Local governments and state universities in Michigan are prohibited by a voter-approved ban on gay marriages and gay civil unions from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court ruled 5-2 that Michigan's 2004 referendum banning gay marriages and unions -- adopted by voters by a 59-41 margin -- also blocks domestic-partner policies sponsored by liberals and left-wing Democrats which affect gay employees at the University of Michigan and elsewhere in the state's public sector. The decision affirmed a February 2007 appeals court ruling.

Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Markman -- appointed in 1999 to the state supreme court by Republican governor John Engler, and formerly a U.S. Attorney under President George H.W. Bush -- described the court's rationale: 'The role of this Court is not to determine who said what about the [state constitutional] amendment before it was ratified, or to speculate about how these statements may have affected voters.' 'Instead,' Markman continued, 'our responsibility is, as it has always been in matters of constitutional interpretation, to determine the meaning of the amendment's actual language.'

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Here's a link to the AP's version of events.


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