I'm proud of the brave teachers who are plaintiffs in the American Civil Liberties Union suit over the ban on domestic partner benefits. The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit today asking the court to strike down a new Michigan law that bans many public entities from providing health care insurance to the domestic partners of their employees.
Two of the plaintiffs are teachers, and they are both teachers in the Ann Arbor public schools. I'm so proud of Peter Ways (Ann Arbor Open teacher) and Theresa Bassett (Slauson Middle School teacher)--and their families. (The other plaintiffs work for the City of Kalamazoo and Ingham County.)
Ways is quoted as saying, in the ACLU press release,
“This is not about politics or ideology for us,”
said Peter Ways, an Ann Arbor Public Schools teacher whose partner will
lose his benefits. “This is about real families who are facing the real
consequences of discriminatory laws. Just like our colleagues whose
families will continue to receive health insurance, we want to care for
Kary Moss, the ACLU of Michigan executive director, said, “Although justified by the Governor as a cost-cutting measure, the
numbers don’t hold up,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive
director. “The reality is that the legislation was intended to
disenfranchise LGBT families."
According to the ACLU web site,
Peter Ways and Joe Breakey of Ann Arbor have been in a
committed relationship for more than 20 years and have a nine-year-old
daughter. Peter works for Ann Arbor Public Schools. The district extends
insurance coverage to his partner Joe who is self-employed as a
licensed therapist. Being self-employed gives Joe the flexibility to be
home for their daughter after school. Due to the added expense that
comparable individual coverage will cost, Peter and Joe are considering a
move back to Washington so that Peter could take a job that provides
Theresa Bassett and Carol Kennedy of Ann Arbor have
been in a committed relationship for 25 years and have six kids ranging
in age from six to 20 years old. Theresa has worked for the Ann Arbor
Public Schools for 28 years and currently teaches 6th grade and 8th
grade math. Theresa’s employer extends health insurance coverage to
Carol who is self-employed as a daycare provider. Because of Carol’s
family history of breast cancer, individual comprehensive insurance
coverage will be extremely expensive. In fact, Carol estimates that
purchasing comprehensive coverage on her own will cost the family an
additional $800 a month, putting considerable pressure on their
finances, which are already strained by a mortgage and the cost of
sending two children to college.
If you see these teachers, tell them you're proud of them too.
And if you have some change to spare, support the ACLU's work by donating now.