Mich. court OKs partner benefits for state workers

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A divided Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a state panel's decision to extend health care benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.

In a 2-1 ruling released Wednesday, the court said it's not the place of courts to second-guess the wisdom of state action.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission voted for the state health insurance plan to cover non-family members who have lived with state workers for at least a year. Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette sued, saying the move was unconstitutional.

But the appeals court ruled the policy doesn't conflict with a 2004 gay marriage ban that prohibits the recognition of "similar" unions. The majority says it's clear state employees could share benefits with other people besides a gay partner.

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