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Judge blocks Michigan's ban on domestic partner benefits

DETROIT -- Michigan's law attempting to block domestic partner benefits for people who work for public schools and local governments has been blocked today by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson cited the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution as his reason for banning the law. The ruling comes just a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because that federal law violated the Equal Protection Clause.

"It is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose — indeed, perhaps the sole purpose — of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. But that can never be a legitimate governmental purpose," Lawson said in his opinion.

Although Michigan is currently controlled by the Republicans, there is a massive movement underway to provide equality in the state. District Judge Bernard Friedman is deliberating a case that seeks to overturn Michigan's ban on same-gender marriage, and state lawmakers are making a push to do so through the legislative process.