Dave Agema, a West Michigan representative in the Michigan House of Representatives, is criticizing Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) recent decision to grant “Household Membership Benefits” to its employees. Under the program, the GVSU Board of Trustees extends employee’s health benefits to “household members” living with that employee. A “household member” is defined as “an adult who lives in the employee’s home for at least 18 months but is not a tenant or boarder or already a dependent of the employee, without regard to marital status or gender.”
While GVSU was clear in stating that this program is different than the “same-sex plans which are banned by state law,” Agema is attacking the benefits as being a way for GVSU to subvert the 2004 ban on benefits for same-sex couples. In light of GVSU’s decision, Agema is resurrecting a proposal to cut state funding by 5% to colleges and universities that give benefits to “gay or unmarried partners.” Agema also has questioned the trustees’ “moral compass” and has said that “Especially in West Michigan, … it needs to be stopped.”
Agema has twice introduced this measure in the Michigan House of Representatives, but both times it has not made any progress. It is also important to remember that in addition to LGBT people, Agema has made racist attacks on undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, and Iraqis.