A federal judge in Michigan could rule as soon as Thursday on a challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. The challenge comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear two cases dealing with gay marriage later this month.
In the Michigan case, a lesbian couple sued not because they want to be married, but because they want to be parents.
Michigan is now the nation's 24th right-to-work state, where unions cannot automatically collect dues or fees from workers. The governor signed the law just hours after it was approved by the state's legislature in a day marked by protests.
Michigan's House approved legislation on Tuesday that would significantly weaken union powers, as protestors gathered outside. Opponents claim it is politically motivated and hurts the average worker. Supporters say it will help attract new businesses to the state. Thousands of protestors descended on the capitol building as the vote took place.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 4:42 am
The Michigan House and Senate have passed the legislation in different versions, and may take final action on the bills next week. Michigan could become the 24th state to say workers cannot be forced to pay union dues even if they work for a business or government employer with union representation.
Unions poured millions of dollars into ballot campaigns to guarantee collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution and allow state-paid home care assistants to organize into a union. Both were resoundingly defeated.