Saturday, February 22, 2014

147.5 - Clown Award: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Clown Award: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

The statement that the Supreme Court is likely to find it difficult to defend bans on same-sex marriage is particularly true when you consider just how desperate the anti-justice forces are getting and how lame their arguments are becoming.

Which bring us to one of our regular weekly features, the Clown Award, giving weekly for meritorious stupidity.

This week, the big red nose goes to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, for coming up with the most clownish excuse for bigotry yet.

In 2011, Michigan passed a law banning benefits from being provided to same-sex partners of employees of state or local governments.

In June 2013, federal Judge David Lawson issued a preliminary injunction keeping the state from enforcing the ban, saying that the plaintiffs had a good chance of winning in federal court, again referring, as other judges in similar cases have, to the equal protection guarantee of the US Constitution.

The administration of Gov. SnidelyWhiplash has now filed its response, asking the judge to vacate the injunction and issue declaratory judgment in favor of the state. Why should the judge uphold the ban? Because, the Gocernor's office says, the ban will save the state money.

Seriously. That's the justification. The ban, it argued, "is a logical and cohesive part of the effort to reduce costs and to address the fiscal insecurity of local governments" by "eliminat[ing] local government programs that are irrational and unfair."

Wait, though, doesn't that mean that you're calling providing benefits to same-sex couples "irrational and unfair?" Doesn't that show exactly the sort of unconstitutional bias the plaintiffs are claiming?

Oh, no no no, the state says, the law "does not target same-sex couples." Heaven forbid!

This despite the fact that, one, the law is titled the “public employee domestic partner benefit restriction act” and requires that to be elibible to be covered under the employee's benefits the person must be living in the same house and either married to or a dependent of the employee, despite the fact that, two, in issuing the injunction, the judge wrote that "[t]he plaintiffs fortify their position with statements from the sponsors of the legislation suggesting that Public Act 297 targets same-sex partners and was motivated by animus," and despite the fact that, three, the state's own motion here says that the purpose of the law is to "[e]liminat[e] policies that disfavor familial relationships."

Plus the fact that unmarried opposite-sex couples have a way around the restrictions if they choose to take it: They could just get married, an option which is not available to same-sex couples in Michigan.

But oh no, it has nothing to do with same-sex couples! Nothing! Nothing at all! It's all about fiscal responsibility! Yeah, that's the ticket!
Of course, the state could save a lot more money by simply eliminating all partner and family benefits - in fact, it could save even more than that by just eliminating benefits altogether. But don't be absurd! They don't want to do that! They couldn't do that!

And the fact that they only people truly impacted by this law are same-sex couples? Just coincidence. And like the man said, "Thank god for coincidence."

Governor John SnidelyWhiplash: a true clown.


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