Michigan House GOP Votes to Penalize Colleges for Offering ‘Immoral’ Partner Benefits

Michigan’s House Republicans voted last week to approve an amendment to an education budget bill that would fine colleges five percent of their state alloted budget if they offer domestic partner benefits to same-sex or unmarried couples.

The education bill passed 57-53 without a single Democratic vote in favor.

Dems argue the bill cuts too deep and goes too far. In light of the amendment, LGBT rights advocates are likely to agree.

More from the Detroit Free Press (emphasis added):

Added to the education bill was a provision that would penalize universities an additional 5% of their state aid if they allow health benefits for employees and a domestic partner or other adult who is not a spouse in the household.

The penalty was proposed by Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville, who said universities that currently allow benefits for same sex partners or unmarried opposite sex partners go against the state constitution and promote immoral behavior. Agema said the penalty on universities could add $60 million for K-12 schools. It’s not known how either Snyder or the Senate would react to the provision.

The bill was the final piece of the House’s version of next year’s budget, and goes to the Senate, where it’s virtually assured to wind up in a conference committee for compromise.

According to The Advocate, Rep. Agema took to Facebook to congratulate himself on his victory, reportedly writing, “I had an amendment put into the education budget that takes 5% away from colleges that give same-sex/unmarried benefits and places up to $60 million of that into the MPSRS K-12 budget if colleges do not stop skirting the law and the will of the people. Colleges can’t say they are short of money when they skirt the law and give such benefits. The Dems didn’t like this — it passed.”

Universities have argued that in order to remain competitive with states that give full marriage rights to same-sex and unmarried cohabiting couples, they must be allowed the autonomy to offer partner benefits. As such, Agema’s amendment may be seen as broadly hostile and based more on a social agenda than a true economic concern.

The overall House version of the education bill would cut aid to Michigan public schools by 3.5% per student, while it is estimated that public universities would lose around 22%.

Democratic lawmakers opposed to the bill say it could severely hamper education. They also point out that a conference on May 16 to recalibrate the state’s revenue forecast is set to show a greater amount of available funds than was projected, perhaps even as much as $500 million. Therefore, opponents charge, the bill is premature.

Republican lawmakers have defended the bill saying that there is no proven correlation between public school funding and academic achievement and therein that these changes will have little to no impact on education.

The Senate version of the bill has yet to be decided upon, but predictions suggest it will be the more forgiving of the two bills and may temper the lower chamber’s more stringent cuts when the two are reconciled.

You can read more on the overall bill at the Detroit Free Press.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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Ronald Buchanan
Ronald Buchanan4 years ago

This is how republicans skirt new freedom and equality laws they don't like . This is true republican terrorist fascism at its finest . When a dickhead says "The will of the people" and does exactly the opposite .. that has become what we have come to expect from these lawmakers that feed their own egos and their own pockets

Paul Diamond
Paul Diamond4 years ago

It is clear that Rep. Agema doesn't know what th word immoral means. I would challenge Rep. Agema to prove to me that there is anything 'immoral' about two people who love one another and have committed to share their life together?
Of course, is not intelligent or sensitive enough to read or understand Care2. So I will have to find some other venue to challenge the rectal orifice.

Armand F.
Armand F.4 years ago

How will this new legislation affect universities that offer benefits to those who have a parent as a dependent? As many more middle aged people are caring for their aging parents this new legislation sounds like it would penalize colleges and universities that offer benefits for those dependents, or am I reading more into this legislation than is intended?

John Doucette
John Doucette4 years ago

What happened to separation of church and state? And as has been proven time and again, it is usually those who tout family values that are guilty of immoral behavior. Aside from the fact that there is no single definition of what is moral.

caterina caligiuri


Ron B.
Ron B.4 years ago

If anyone ever has not been able to see the corrupted republican terrorist fascist agenda they are threatening , hammering and even holding us hostage to get their own way . then a population of voters needs to have their heads examined. the agenda your witnessing has been done before starting in 1933 and ending in 1944 it was germany Hitler and his criminals . here we have the american Hitler Dick Cheney that is where this started and finally began to blossom into full maturity with the Stolen election that put that Moron Bush as a figure head a misdirection , a distraction and a slice of misinformation while Dick Cheney and his Hudson University papers group penned the american Mien kampf , this is the agenda that has been unfolding for 40 years . Dont believe it do the history homework . not the mainline corporate owned media but real history it is out there to be read.
I bet very few of you know of the CNN-S channel on cable regardless of the opinion of CNN the CNN-S channel is the senate when in session , no announcer , no mediator , the government history being made in front of you LIVE . The real issues and bills ammendments and other activities as it becomes law that is where you see the live unedited , untampered with government . Especially you get to see the republican Terrorist fascists weave t6heir lies LIVE instead of being fed corporate crap from the main stream media or drug addict fools like Rush Limbaugh , want the truth watch CNN-S when the Gov wo

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ira L.
Ira & Ellie L.4 years ago


Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley4 years ago

Writing yet more homophobic bigotry into legislation is something the Republican jackass should be ashamed of. What an ignorant moron. The Republican party are a divisive party and not one who wants to see everyone equal. When they're finished discriminating against anyone who is gay or supports gay equality, we can look forward to yet more latino discrimination and on and on.

Doug D.
Doug D.4 years ago

I am so sick of conservatives dictating what is moral or immoral. Their judgements are the most immoral thing in society--and truly cripple our development as a nation!