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Judge blocks Michigan ban on domestic partner benefits

A federal judge shot down Michigan's ban on domestic partner health benefits for gay government workers, ruling Friday that the law was simply a punishment that targeted homosexuals.

"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," said U.S. District Judge David Lawson, The Associated Press reported. "But that can never be a legitimate governmental purpose.

Lawmakers in the Republican controlled state government passed a law in 2011 blocking health insurance for partners of gay employees in the state's school system or government. The law exempted colleges and universities, along with state workers with benefits that are obtained through the Michigan Civil Service Commission, AP reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued, saying the ban violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

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