A decision to allow same-sex partners of Michigan state government employees health insurance benefits, has remained intact despite a Republican appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court unanimously declined to hear an appeal against the decision, which was filed by Republican Attorney General Bill Chuette.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission in 2001 voted to extend health insurance plans to cover non-family members who lived continuously with a state worker for over a year, in order to offer the benefits without violating the state’s ban on equal marriage.

Chuette argued that the new policy conflicted with a 2004 state-wide ban on equal marriage in Michigan, however in January, the state court of appeals ruled 2-1 that it did not. 

At the time, the court of appeals argued that it was not the place of courts to second-guess decisions made by the state.

The Supreme Court justices said they were not persuaded by the appeal that they should review the issue.

The 2004 constitutional amendment passed by voters in the state of Michigan, defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The first same-sex wedding ceremony last month took place in Michigan, following a Native American tribe, which is exempt from state law, signing equal marriage into law.

In March the legislative body of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians voted 5-4 on 3 March to amend its laws to allow equal marriage.