Mich. court bars benefits for same-sex couples, roiling Fla.

The Michigan Supreme Court, upholding a ruling from a lower court, said in a 5-2 decision Thursday that the state's 2004 constitutional ban on gay marriage also bars local and state governments and public universities from offering health-insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

The decision is energizing opponents of a similar amendment on Florida's November ballot. Though the wording of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban is not identical to the proposed Amendment 2 facing Florida voters in November, opponents say it will pave the way for the same ban on domestic-partnership benefits.

''We have been clear and consistent that a court could rule this amendment could take away existing rights and benefits,'' said Derek Newton, campaign manager for Florida Red and Blue, the organization running the SayNo2 Campaign. ``The other side has denied that, and today the Michigan Supreme Court said a similar amendment in Michigan does in fact take away existing benefits and protections from people.'

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