Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Domestic partner benefits upheld

28. September 2005 • Matt Hollerbach
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An Ingham County Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday that same-sex domestic partners of state employees are eligble for benefits which apply to spouses—if the agency or institution chooses to offer them. This includes the University, which has this website about the topic.

Previous AU posts:
> Same sex benefits suit filed against A2 schools
> 30,000 state of Michigan employees lose same sex benefits
> Urgent action needed



  1. I think this was a great decision! The big question, though, is what the Michigan Supreme Court, controlled by the degenerate Republicans, will make of it…
       —David Cahill    Sep. 29 '05 - 06:50PM    #
  2. Good, but Granholm shouldn’t have “wussed out” back in December and cut off the benefits for 9 months, either…
    ...no wonder her polls are low, with her betrayal and flip-flopping.
       —David Boyle    Sep. 29 '05 - 09:47PM    #
  3. What a shame. Once again an individual judge has decided to overturn the majority will of the citizens of the State. State Universities or Agencies don’t pay for the benefits – taxpayers do.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 09:14AM    #
  4. Here’s the text of the amendment:

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.asp?page=getObject&objName=mcl-Article-I-25&highlight=

    Where in there does it say anything about health care benefits? So what “will of the citizens” was overturned by this ruling?
       —John Q    Oct. 3 '05 - 09:53AM    #
  5. “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”

    Health benefits are benefits of marriage. They are not benefits for any two unmarried persons who choose to shack up together. Domestic partners of heterosexual persons do not get health benefits. So that there is no discrimination, unmarried homosexual partners should not get benefits either.

    There is no discrimination in marriage either. Every individual is free to marry or not to marry. If you choose to live with a same sex partner then you are exercising your freedom. It is not “who you are” it is “what you do” – a behavior choice, not an identity. Tens of thousands of ex-gays are significant proof of this reality.

    The citizens in every state in this nation who have had a chance to vote on these issues have expressed their unified opinion against homosexual marriage and in support of traditional marriage. You are free to behave as you want with other consenting adults, but you can’t require people to agree with your moral values.

    Let’s find some common ground. I won’t require you to denounce homosexual marriage if you don’t require me to endorse it. Fair?
       —k. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 10:56AM    #
  6. “Health benefits are benefits of marriage. ”

    Not true. I get health benefits and I’m not married.
       —John Q    Oct. 3 '05 - 11:09AM    #
  7. Are you employed?
       —k. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 11:19AM    #
  8. k. –
    I think the Court’s declaration is that benefits are linked to employment, not to marriage. The employer can choose to offer whatever benefits they want; there’s no standard slate across all employers. Some plans are individual, some plans cover a spouse, some plans cover children (some plans different numbers of children in different ways), and all of these plans have different cost structures. The employer chooses what kind of benefit program it is going to offer to employees, and that’s what the judge supported. From Matt’s link, above:

    _“Health care benefits are not among the statutory rights or benefits of marriage. An individual does not receive health care benefits for his or her spouse as a matter of legal right upon getting married.” Judge Dragonchuk goes on to write, “Health care benefits for a spouse are benefits of employment, not benefits of marriage.”_

    If my employer wants to provide insurance options for my health, my vision, my life, my spouse, my fiancee, my girlfriend, my children, my parents, my pets, my houseplants, my housemates, whatever – that’s the employers’ choice, says the Judge.

    This doesn’t require you to endorse same-sex marriage, or any kind of marriage. I think your common ground proposal is acceptable. I won’t demand that all employers provide a uniform benefits package that covers everybody exactly the same, including same-sex partners, and you don’t demand that all employers provide a uniform benefits package that covers everybody exactly the same, excluding same-sex partners
       —Murph.    Oct. 3 '05 - 11:24AM    #
  9. I agree that private employers should be able to offer any benefit package they deem suitable for their employees. It would be very inappropriate for me to intervene in these personal business matters. But the legal issue is benefits for partners of state employees. When a person works for a state agency or University, you and I are the “employers” Tax dollars are used for these benefits. Every taxpayer has a say in how tax dollars are spent. I don’t want state money to pay for health care benefits for unmarried spouses of employees, regardless of whether they are of same or different sexes.
       —k. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 11:36AM    #
  10. “I don’t want state money to pay for health care benefits for unmarried spouses of employees, regardless of whether they are of same or different sexes.”

    That’s your personal opinion but the language of the Amendment doesn’t preclude the government from offering those benefits since, as Murph noted, they are tied to employment, not marriage. If the state or local government wants to offer those benefits, there’s nothing illegal about that. If people wanted the proposal to ban benefits to all unmarried partners of employees, they should have included that language in the amendment.
       —John Q    Oct. 3 '05 - 11:50AM    #
  11. The constitutional ammendment that was passed by an overwhelming majority of persons in the entire state is the law that makes it illegal for the state to offer medical benefits to unmarried partners of employees. That’s exactly how the Attorney General of the state interpreted the wording of the ballot issue, how Governor Granholm interpreted it and that’s exactly how those who circulated the petition intended for the law to be enacted. Those opposed to this outcome searched the state until they found a single judge who was willing to subvert the efforts of the majority. Now it will be appealed to higher courts until it reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, unless we impeach the judge and overrule the mistake. The ammendment includes significantly more written information than the few words that appeared on the ballot. Since every single term used to define these relationships could not be included in the written document, the terms that were chosen were sufficiently broad to cover all unmarried partners for any purpose.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 12:12PM    #
  12. “the terms that were chosen were sufficiently broad to cover all unmarried partners for any purpose”

    You forgot that it applies to any purpose “related to marriage”. As we’ve already noted, health benefits are not a condition of marriage. Employers offer them to single people, to their children, some benefit plans even cover elderly parents, etc. So it simply doesn’t apply. You made an assumption and you turned out to be wrong.
       —John Q    Oct. 3 '05 - 12:26PM    #
  13. Quoting John Q : You forgot that it applies to any purpose “related to marriage”.

    ??? Read the passage – it does not say that at all, no matter how much you wish it were so.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 12:39PM    #
  14. The constitutional ammendment that was passed by an overwhelming majority of persons in the entire state is the law that makes it illegal for the state to offer medical benefits to unmarried partners of employees…and that’s exactly how those who circulated the petition intended for the law to be enacted.

    K. Leach, you are either dead wrong, can’t remember 2004 very well, or both – the ammendment was presented as an anti-gay resolution. From the suit:

    The voters of Michigan, in approving the Marriage Amendment, were not motivated by any malevolent desire to strip families of health insurance or job benefits. The ballot committee that sponsored Proposal 2 consistently and repeatedly assured voters that the “Proposal 2 is Only about marriage” and “not about rights or benefits or how people choose to live their lives.”

    So, you’re against homosexuals taking part in marriage… You’re entitled to your opinion even if you’re a bigot. But how can you be against healthcare for more people, when millions are without? Whatever the real impact is on tax dollars – say it’s $10 per year per person – I will gladly donate your share out of my own pocket for the rest of my life should it keep you quiet on the matter.
       —FAA    Oct. 3 '05 - 02:10PM    #
  15. I included the link so you would read the text. Here is what was approved by the voters:

    “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”

    See? Its intent is to preserve “the benefits of marriage” – I get health care benefits and I’m single. Some people are single and have kids and the kids also are covered by benefits. Some benefit plans provide coverage for taking care of elderly parents. It’s pretty clear that health care benefits have nothing to do with preserving the “benefits of marriage” nor does offering benefits fall under an “agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union”.

    If you believe in the strict rule of law, the law is what the words say, not what you thought it said or someone told you it said. For the judge to apply the amendment to health care benefits, something that has nothing to do with marriage, would be to legislate from the bench.
       —John Q    Oct. 3 '05 - 02:36PM    #
  16. I very much welcome this decision, and I hope that the Michigan Supreme Court will uphold it.

    I think “K. Leach” is a fake or a troll, and the postings with that signature are parodies intended to reinforce the stereotype of people on the religious right as being bigoted and dishonest.

    I know a lot of Christian conservatives—not the glitzy, opportunistic leaders, but individual people—and though I have little in common with them politically, it would be hard to imagine any of them lying in this way. Most of these folks are honest people who try to do the right thing as they understand it. I don’t see that in “K. Leach”.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 3 '05 - 02:57PM    #
  17. Look who’s not being truthful.

    Employment benefits are for those who are employed, their spouses, and their dependents. Homosexuals can get medical benefits by being employed or by being dependent children whose parents can claim them.

    What is in opposition to the ammendment to the state constitution is to consider a homosexual partner as a spouse for the purpose of obtaining benefits. Yes, single persons and dependents can and do recieve medical benefits but not as a result of being considered married or any other similar term that implies a “marriage like” relationship.

    Your revisionist history does not work well for those persons whose memory is functional. The 2004 ammendment was not an anti-gay initiative, but one in support of traditional, heterosexual marriage. Those who circulated the petition told signers that it was the best method we have to date to prevent homosexual marriages from being recognized in our state, short of a Federal Amendment, and that all other questions concerning the scope of the amendment were sure to be fought by homosexual activists in future lawsuits.



    You can call me a lying, bigoted, conservative Christian on the far right but the normal rules of debate would favor those whose arguments pertain to the issue at hand. And by the way FAA, healthcare for any person is significantly more than $10 per year per person.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 03:59PM    #
  18. This interesting dialogue exposes a bigger issue about which we should all be concerned:

    The religious right’s success in the Michigan legislature and at the ballot box is putting this State at a serious economic disadvantage.

    Example 1: Efforts to outlaw health benefits for unmarried partners. Many large corporations provide such benefits. My brother formerly worked for Microsoft in Seattle, and his live-in girlfriend was eligible to participate in his health plan. If Michigan businesses cannot provide the same benefits that non-Michigan businesses can offer, then the best employees will choose to work outside Michigan. The companies that employ them will soon follow.

    Example 2: Michigan’s laws against stem cell research. Our State is considered one of the most restrictive in the country. Top scientists who work in this field have publicly discussed their frustration with this issue. Those folks end up working in more progressive states, such as California. This is cutting edge technology that can help save lives AND create good jobs… but Michigan will lose out because of the religious right.
       —Leigh Greden    Oct. 3 '05 - 04:01PM    #
  19. The 2004 ammendment was not an anti-gay initiative, but one in support of traditional, heterosexual marriage. Those who circulated the petition told signers that it was the best method we have to date to prevent homosexual marriages from being recognized…

    Thanks for clearing that up. I now realize that segregation and apartheid weren’t anti-black, they were in support of traditional white people. What I’m confused about now is how women got the vote… The pre-existing laws weren’t anti-women, they were in support of men – now, who would overturn that?

    And by the way FAA, healthcare for any person is significantly more than $10 per year per person.

    When divided up amongst millions of taxpayers to cover thousands of workers? It might even be less.
       —FAA    Oct. 3 '05 - 04:45PM    #
  20. No, “K. Leach”, sorry, I don’t believe that you are what you say you are.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 3 '05 - 09:19PM    #
  21. I didn’t say I was anything.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 3 '05 - 10:20PM    #
  22. Check out what the Detroit Free Press printed on Oct 2:

    Senate to consider asking court to stop same-sex benefits

    October 2, 2005, 10:55 AM

    LANSING, Mich. (AP)—The state Senate is expected to take up two measures this week that would ask the Michigan Supreme Court to issue an order preventing state and local governments from providing benefits to the same-sex partners of their workers.

    The resolutions were introduced after an Ingham County judge ruled that public universities and governments can provide health insurance to the partners of gay employees without violating the Michigan Constitution.

    Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk said the purpose of a 2004 constitutional amendment was to ban gay marriage and civil unions—not to keep public employers from offering benefits to gay employees.

    The resolutions, introduced by Republican Sen. Alan Cropsey of DeWitt, would ask the state’s highest court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the use of taxpayer money to fund benefits for homosexual unions until the court has ruled on its constitutionality.

    A measure passed by Michigan voters last November made the union between a man and a woman the only agreement recognized as a marriage “or similar union for any purpose.” Those six words led to a fight over benefits for gay couples.

    Attorney General Mike Cox issued a legal opinion in March saying the measure prohibited the city of Kalamazoo from providing domestic partner benefits in future contracts. But 21 gay couples who work for Kalamazoo, universities and the state filed a lawsuit challenging Cox’s interpretation.

    Cox, a Republican, said he would appeal the judge’s decision because “the people of Michigan spoke very clearly on the amendment,” spokeswoman Alison Pierce said.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 4 '05 - 08:55AM    #
  23. K. Leach says:
    “Employment benefits are for those who are employed, their spouses, and their dependents.”

    Where is that written? It seems to me that “Employment benefits” are for whoever the employer says they are for.

    So if a government employer says that they are for “The employed, their spouses, their dependants and any domestic partners”, they’ve granted benefits separately from those granted to spouses and any laws restricting who is considered a spouse would be irrelevant.
       —RJY    Oct. 4 '05 - 10:13AM    #
  24. “Employment benefits are for those who are employed, their spouses, and their dependents.”

    And this is demonstrably false – as I noted, some employers give benefits that can be used for the care of elderly parents and that doesn’t fall into any of those categories. Other benefits allow you to specify anyone as your beneficiary (life insurance, retirement plans, etc.).
       —John Q    Oct. 4 '05 - 10:36AM    #
  25. Your argument proves the point of the wording of the constitutional amendment. If it outlawed “benefits for same sex spouses” you would call it “domestic partners” or “significant others” or “cohabitating partners” or whatever and you can play the label game ad infinitum. But the amendment states a marriage or similar union for any purpose. And it certainly isn’t limited to health benefits, or employee benefits, or legal benefits either, but for any purpose. That’s exactly what the people of the state voted for and what must now be enforced throughout our state.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 4 '05 - 10:39AM    #
  26. “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.”

    An employer giving benefits to domestic partners, elderly parents, pets, neighbors, etc. has nothing to do with “the union of one man and one woman in marriage”.

    The amendment has no bearing. That spouses get benefits is one of the “any purpose”s mention in the amendment. To expand the definition of a spouse would violate the amendment.

    To add another class of people that recieves benefits doesn’t in any way affect the other classes.

    If the employers says “we will give benefits to the employed, their spouses, their dependants and their dependants’ best friends” would you argue that the amendment was being violated? Of course not! The definition of “spouses” isn’t being changed at all.
       —RJY    Oct. 4 '05 - 11:23AM    #
  27. Bravo to John Q. for fighting the good fight on two different beachheads of insanity at once. Blaine is a lost cause, which is especially sad because if you scrape away all the nut-job rhetoric, the martyr complex, and the ridiculous demands, his heart’s probably in the right place.

    This wacko, though, is more dangerous because he represents the Neanderthal mainstream, as evidenced by Sen. Cropsey’s proposal. And these people most assuredly don’t have their hearts in the right place. This is just pure and ugly bigotry. Anyone who would take medical insurance away from a family, especially a family that has already earned it, been promised it, and is counting on it, would probably stoop to anything.
       —Parking Structure Dude!    Oct. 4 '05 - 11:33AM    #
  28. I understand that’s your point of view, but that is not the point of view of the Michigan State Attorney General, and he’s the person responsible for statewide enforcement. He’s the lawyer, not me. Are you?
       —K. Leach    Oct. 4 '05 - 11:42AM    #
  29. Statewide enforcement? Ooooh, scary. Sounds like a police state. So any woman trying to get a mammogram with her partner’s insurance is going to have Cox slamming down hard on her?
       —Parking Structure Dude!    Oct. 4 '05 - 12:21PM    #
  30. Mike Cox is a lawyer, but so am I. So what? Ask three lawyers what the amendment means, and you’ll probably get four answers.

    Cox’s opinion was overruled by the Ingham County judge. Ergo, what the judge says governs, unless/until a higher court says otherwise.

    Cox is a carrion-eating right-wing Republican. That fact, rather than any legal expertise he may or may not have, explains his now-overrruled opinion.
       —David Cahill    Oct. 4 '05 - 08:46PM    #
  31. “Cox is a carrion-eating right-wing Republican.”

    Do you often use ad hominem attacks in your courtroom arguments?
       —K. Leach    Oct. 5 '05 - 09:15AM    #
  32. You may be right, Leech, that 51% of voters are bigots and support bigoted laws. But the beauty of representative democracy is that judges and officials, elected and not, are encouraged to make decisions that while contrary to current popular opinion, are in the long-term best interests of our society. Bravo to any official who has the moral courage to stand up to such bigotry.

    What others have proven so well here is that while it’s easy to pass a meaningless but still mean-spirited amendment, it’s much harder to twist the law so that employee rights and benefits are excluded from any group, however one tries to define them.
       —WTF    Oct. 5 '05 - 10:11AM    #
  33. Mike Cox feels pretty hard on about this, and Mike Cox will stand straight up until Mike Cox has pummelled the barriers and spanked the opposition. Sometimes Mike Cox works so hard until his head gets red and feels like it’s going to explode. If only Mike Cox’s bosom buddy Dick Posthumous was here, but he’s been feeling pretty flaccid lately.
       —Mike Cox is awesome    Oct. 5 '05 - 10:15AM    #
  34. Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
    the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”—MATTHEW 25:40

    K. Leach, I guess that you and your group just sorta glossed over this particular passage, eh? (Here I assume that these people think less of homosexuals then they do of themselves)

    I would be join your church, heck, any church, in a heartbeat if you actually practiced what has been preached to you.

    Pretty wise words from JC here, whether or not you are a religious fellow.

    I have a question for you K. Leach: why on earth would a religious group, of any kind, want to deprive any human being from something as fundamental as health care?

    Or how about this one: where the hell are the Christians when it comes to providing Universal Health Care in America? Wouldn’t that seem to be a more “Christlike” effort than trying to stick it to a group of Americans, denying them a chance for a healthy life?

    Why don’t you try that? That way, you don’t have to worry about who is gay and who is not. Everyone will get health insurance.
       —todd    Oct. 5 '05 - 11:50AM    #
  35. Our country is not a representative democracy, it is a constitutional republic. Judges are bound by oath to uphold the law, not as you put it, be encouraged to make decisions that while contrary to current popular opinion, are in the long-term best interests of our society. That would be tyranny. A judge who rules against existing laws because their personal beliefs are opposed to those laws would be a bigot indeed!

    Those persons who hold beliefs that differ from your own are not necessarily bigots. I have attempted to discuss an issue on this site that many are opposed to. With the exception of a few others, no one is willing to discuss the issue at all. According to my dictionary that type of intolerence is what typifies bigotry. I thought there were educated professionals that frequented this site.

    I don’t believe the ammendment was mean spirited. It was a desperate attempt to preserve traditional marriage in our society. Did you realize that there are countries in Scandinavia where more than 70% of the children are born out of wedlock. Did you realize that the best indicator of economic well being in a child’s life is to have both a mother and a father in the household, not any two adults? Have you read the book, “After the Ball”? Do you realize that the authors of this book discussed homosexual marriage as a means of destroying traditional family values and sexual mores.

    Can you even fathom the possibility that a person may be opposed to homosexual marriage or the moral equivalence of homo/heterosexuality because they sincerely believe that they are acting in the best long term interests of our country and future generations of children. Do you even care, or is the personal pursuit of sexual pleasure without any societal restrictions the overiding motivation in political decisions which affect us all?
       —K. Leach    Oct. 5 '05 - 12:27PM    #
  36. “I have attempted to discuss an issue on this site that many are opposed to. With the exception of a few others, no one is willing to discuss the issue at all. According to my dictionary that type of intolerence is what typifies bigotry. I thought there were educated professionals that frequented this site.”

    Well, I guess that I am somehow not discussing this with you.

    Here’s a deal. Address the points that I made in my above post, and I’ll be happy to respond to you.

    Fair?

    Here’s the central question again:

    I have a question for you K. Leach: why on earth would a religious group, of any kind, want to deprive any human being from something as fundamental as health care?

    What’s your answer?
       —todd    Oct. 5 '05 - 12:59PM    #
  37. “Did you realize that there are countries in Scandinavia where more than 70% of the children are born out of wedlock.”

    Did you realize that the vast majority of the parents of these children marry after having a child “out of wedlock”?

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2100884/

    If your going to throw around statistics to bolster your argument that traditional marriage is collapsing because of recognition of gay unions, you might try using stats that actually back up your claims. But as the article shows, nothing of the sort has happened in Scandanavia, even though many children are born out of wedlock.
       —John Q    Oct. 5 '05 - 01:18PM    #
  38. Todd,

    If I didn’t care about homosexuals, I wouldn’t say anything at all. I could sit in my church and praise God all day long that I am thankful I am going to heaven and too bad for the rest of those who never really understood. What kind of Christian could drink from the well of eternal life and then encourage others to engage in behaviors that would deny the benefits of heaven to them. I don’t think of myself as any better than any other individual at all. It was a very short time ago that the world had its claim on my life and I rejected the claims of Jesus and the truth of His Gospel. I wasn’t just a mere sinner, but I was really good at sinning. I was 40 years old and headed straight to hell because I worshipped at the altar of science and secular humanism and self esteem. But then one person cared enough to show me that God loved me too and it has been an incredible ride ever since. I don’t worry about who is gay and who is not. I worry about who is saved and who is not. I’m not as worried about who has health insurance as I am about who will live forever. And I pray to God that many of my homosexual friends will repent in time to join in the eternal party.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 5 '05 - 01:23PM    #
  39. Wow, did you learn that in skool? Yeah, it’s a constitutional republic, republics are representative, and our particular one has aspects of democracy (universal suffrage, popular vote, etc.) And no, a bigot is not just someone who doesn’t like those that disagree with them, it’s someone who hates a group of people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, physical attribute, sexual orientation, etc. A bigot is usually inclined to take steps to hurt or exclude the people they hate, and so laws based on such sentiments are dangerous to everyone, not just the targeted group.

    The judge didn’t rule against existing laws, he showed that the amendment has nothing to do with employee benefits, as much as you wish it did. He could have cowed to the popular but still incorrect assumption that the amendment allows the law to discriminate against non-heterosexual employees and exclude them from their benefits, but the law is already very clear on this, and he affirmed it.

    The best indicator of a child’s economic well being is stability, emotional and physical, not who or how that stability is provided. Witness the many self-made billionarires that grew up in orphanages or single-parent households. If any 2 people willingly commit to create a loving and stable home for a child, what does sex matter? Plenty of hetero marriages are quite asexual beyond procreation, and quite unloving, so simply being hetero is not really making that family any more nurturing to a child. And Scandanavia is doing quite well economically and socially, good example!
       —WTF    Oct. 5 '05 - 01:24PM    #
  40. Oh, nevermind, you really are just a nut. Real Christians don’t talk about who is “not saved,” especially when such talk is just a cover for talking about who they hate. Besides, while Jesus may not have been “gay,” he certainly lived a non-hetero alternative lifestyle with 12 live-in domestic partners. If JC’s carpentry company had employee benefits for domestic partners, I’m sure he would have shared them.
       —WTF    Oct. 5 '05 - 01:31PM    #
  41. K. Leach,

    Last chance, and then I’m off the thread, as this is heading nowhere:

    “I have a question for you K. Leach: why on earth would a religious group, of any kind, want to deprive any human being from something as fundamental as health care?”

    Answer the question. You want to pull health care benefits from same-sexed partners. Tell me why.

    “I don’t worry about who is gay and who is not. I worry about who is saved and who is not. I’m not as worried about who has health insurance as I am about who will live forever. And I pray to God that many of my homosexual friends will repent in time to join in the eternal party.”

    I attended a Jesuit University, and studied philosophy, so obviously I touched on Christian dogma. I don’t recall, anywhere in the Bible, the statement “K. Leach is the Judge of who gets into heaven and who doesn’t, therefore, he is also in charge of directing human behavior toward that goal”.

    Further, what the heck kind of a BS explanation is this for your position? If all that you are really worried about who gets into heaven, and who doesn’t, then wouldn’t it follow that you would want to deny Jew, Muslims, etc. etc. be denied health care and marriage? They sure as heck not going to the heaven that you know.

    Well, what about this?
       —todd    Oct. 5 '05 - 01:59PM    #
  42. I don’t want to deprive anyone of benefits. Since society does not typically allow unmarried heterosexual partners to get benefits from their partners, are we trying to deny them benefits? No. Each person can work and earn benefits for themselves.
    This practice discourages persons who are not married from raising children. Society does best when children are raised in families with both a mother and father present. Homosexual families deny the child of either a mother or a father and thousands of research studies have documented the problems associated with this.

    I am not the judge – God is the judge. If I were God, I would have made a lot of rules differently. He is God, I am not, He is all knowing, I am not. One day I will see things from His side and understand more, but until then I am content to trust that He loves us and knows what is best for us. My job is to trust and obey and to share the Gospel.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 5 '05 - 02:20PM    #
  43. Pardon my syntax.

    Lame.
       —todd    Oct. 5 '05 - 02:21PM    #
  44. Did you realize that there are countries in Scandinavia where more than 70% of the children are born out of wedlock.

    Did you realize that Scandinavia is comprised of the most literate and the least impoverished nations of the world? Did you realize they have some of the lowest crime rates? Did you realize they’re also some of the least religious?

    Looks like evidence that you can raise inteligent, successful, and peaceful children without a mommy and a daddy and a white picket fence and a god… They also have universal health care, and a couple have legalized gay marriage, so they wouldn’t even have to worry about our topic/situation at all.

    Did you realize that the best indicator of economic well being in a child’s life is to have both a mother and a father in the household, not any two adults?

    Wrong. See above.
       —FAA    Oct. 5 '05 - 02:24PM    #
  45. “No. Each person can work and earn benefits for themselves.
    This practice discourages persons who are not married from raising children.”

    Um, but if each person works and has benefits, then their employer is likely to cover their kids whether they’re married or not—where’s the disincentive to have kids? The practice of only granting benefits to married couples is an incentive to get married, period. Kids make no difference.
       —sst    Oct. 5 '05 - 08:32PM    #
  46. You’re right. I hadn’t fully considered my last response. Not giving benefits to unmarried partners doesn’t discourage them from having children. Many couples, both married and unmarried, have both partners working full time while raising their children. There are not many who can afford to stay home and raise their kids even when they might be covered by their spouses medical insurance.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 5 '05 - 10:40PM    #
  47. Soo, Leach, are you now willing to admit that the judge was right and Cox was wrong?
       —David Cahill    Oct. 7 '05 - 06:07PM    #
  48. No, I don’t think the judge was right. Neither does the Michigan State Senate. They voted 22 -16 on Thursday to ask the State Supreme Court to bar the benefits until the State Supreme Court has a chance to decide their legality in light of the Costitutional amendment. The ammendment was approved by Michigan voters by a 59 to 41 per cent margin. The margin for homosexual marriage amendments in other states was closer to 70/30 per cent because their amendments were not as extensive and far reaching as Michigan’s.

    Society does not benefit from encouraging homosexual relationships. They are typically short-lived, cause physical illnesses, and create gender confusion in children who are in close proximity to them.
       —K. Leach    Oct. 8 '05 - 10:03PM    #
  49. The Michigan Senate’s resolution was largely along party lines. Again, what we have here is a partisan “culture war,” not an argument about legalities.
       —Dave Cahill    Oct. 10 '05 - 11:13AM    #
  50. In 2004 the voters in Michigan approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “a union between one man and one woman.” A lawsuit was brought against the state by the ACLU and others to clarify whether the amendment prohibits public institutions from offering health benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of employees. In 2005, the Ingham Circuit Court ruled that the amendment did not prohibit such benefits.

    However, today the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the marriage amendment “prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose,” including the provision of employee health benefits.


       —Karen Luck    Feb. 2 '07 - 09:21PM    #
  51. Funny how the advocates of the proposal, before the election, denied that this would happen: it was about marriage, not about benefits. Now, they deny they ever said any such thing. And Engler’s right-wing judges are happy to agree. (The state Supreme Court is certain to uphold this ruling.)

    The biggest loser here is the University of Michigan. I wonder how many top-notch faculty are going to give up on Michigan over this — or never come here in the first place?

    Meanwhile, the university (without affirmative action) has to choose between (a) staying competitive and having very few minority students, or (b) maintaining a little diversity by broadening admissions and becoming a less competitive state school like MSU.

    To stay on top of a competitive field, it’s not enough to do pretty well — you have to do outstandingly well in just about every way. These two bombshells are probably enough to push the university’s reputation into a death spiral.

    Yet another thing (beyond Pfizer) to be unhappy about this week. Ann Arbor could be a very different and less interesting place in ten years.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Feb. 3 '07 - 12:10AM    #
  52. Larry,

    I think you’re being generous. I think this is exactly the outcome that proponents wanted and it is why the ballot language was worded the way it was. Whether a majority of voters thought they were voting to cut off health insurance, etc. for gay partners, that’s what they did. I don’t know what the proponents thought they accomplished with this proposal but I didn’t see anyone “winning” today.


       —John Q.    Feb. 3 '07 - 05:26AM    #
  53. “I didn’t see anyone “winning” today.”

    I do. The winners were the States that don’t have fucking idiot backwoods laws who are now going to get even MORE talented people to move there since the State of Michigan has clearly sent word that they aren’t welcome here.

    It’s like everyone in this State likes the shit sandwich that we’re eating, so they’re going to do everything in their power to move the Michigan economy further into oblivion. I’ve stopped asking “what decade is this?” and moved to “what century is this?”.

    Pardon my swearing, but it’s feels like some people are TRYING to sabotage the economy and make Michigan a crappy place to live.

    I mean, who the hell gets out of bed in the morning and says, “well, before I go to bed today, I’m going to make sure that that guy over there doesn’t have access to medical care”?

    Maybe I went to a different Kindergarten than the rest of you, but I thought that the idea was to make sure that EVERYONE has access to medical care? Maybe some of you were sitting in the corner, eating Elmer’s Glue when they talked about the Golden Rule, eh?

    You have to really, really hate people to find the time in your day to cook up laws like this and follow it through. Why not just spend time with model trains? They’re really fun.

    Double lame.


       —todd    Feb. 3 '07 - 08:23AM    #
  54. You’ve just described modern Republicans quite accurately, todd.


       —David Cahill    Feb. 3 '07 - 02:39PM    #
  55. todd,

    Good point. I was thinking of the residents of Michigan. You’re right – this is just one more self-inflicted injury we’ve done in our efforts to revive our economy. People keep saying that we don’t want to become the Mississippi of the North but at the rate we’re going, we’re well on our way to getting there.


       —John Q.    Feb. 3 '07 - 05:57PM    #
  56. David,

    In the 2004 election in Michigan:

    * Bush: 2,313,746

    * Kerry: 2,479,183

    * Prop 2 Yes: 2,698,077

    * Prop 2 No: 1,904,319

    Democrats aren’t above criticism here. Looks like plenty of them voted for this amendment, or, at the least, neglected to vote against it.

    (Nor, I would point out, should self-identified Democrats seek out opportunities to bash Republicans as a class. Plenty of good people call themselves Republicans, yet also hold a lot of the same values that I do – I’d rather try to move them away from the core of mean, selfish glue-eaters who currently take advantage of their votes than dismiss ‘em all and push them away.)


       —Murph.    Feb. 3 '07 - 06:07PM    #
  57. I agree completely, Murph. The problem is that the Republican leadership is solidly glue-eater.

    I know a couple of Republican lawyers who now call themselves moderates. Who knows – they may even “convert”.


       —David Cahill    Feb. 3 '07 - 07:45PM    #
  58. I agree with Murph…todd’s rant describes neo-con Republicans quite well.
    It doesn’t really fit the Milliken-esque Republicans who are just as sickened by these actions as the rest of us.


       —kena    Feb. 3 '07 - 07:49PM    #
  59. This gay Michigander/U-M employee and my faculty-member partner are now much more likely to flee this god-forsaken state in the next few years. Here’s hoping.

    The state Democratic Party was virtually worthless in the run-up to the 2004 Prop 2 vote. And most straight “allies” just sat back and let it happen and then were all freakin’ slackjawed the day after the election. If I had 5 dollars for every person who said “what can we do?” AFTER the election, then, heck, maybe I’d be able to pay for somebody’s healthcare once he/she loses it soon. But even though some D’s voted for it, the R’s put it out there. The Rs were driving the bus, but the Ds threw us under the wheels. Thanks for nothing.

    This state obviously doesn’t want me or people like me here. The chill I felt yesterday regarding this decision is colder than the front that just moved through. I’m angry.

    Anybody know of any movement to change the constitution in a way that could help glbt residents and their families?


       —Young OWSider    Feb. 3 '07 - 08:20PM    #
  60. “This gay Michigander/U-M employee and my faculty-member partner are now much more likely to flee this god-forsaken state in the next few years.”

    You know, I’m getting REALLY sick of being right.

    I need a drink.


       —todd    Feb. 3 '07 - 08:47PM    #
  61. I don’t blame you for being angry, Young OWSider. You are absolutely right. As a democrat, I’m ashamed that we haven’t had the will or ability to get more movement on this issue over the last ten years and that, in fact, things are getting worse almost everywhere in the country.

    I just don’t understand why anyone would concern him/herself with the personal lives of other productive members of society when there are so many legitimate things to worry about, like global warming, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, poverty, the hundreds of things that are wrong in Africa, etc. etc. etc.


       —Anna    Feb. 3 '07 - 09:38PM    #
  62. Mary Cheney’s relationship, however, is NOT a political issue…

    (Chicago Tribune...)


       —Daniel Adams    Feb. 4 '07 - 02:11AM    #
  63. I think a pushback is possible.


       —Dale    Feb. 4 '07 - 06:53AM    #
  64. What can’t UMich simply rewrite its health care policy to say that employees are allowed to enroll one adult who shares their household, and as many minor dependents as they wish? Plus have a separate rider for dependents who are no longer minors (ie, college students)? There is no identification of any “union” in that language, simply a desire on the part of the employee to pay for health care for someone else. It might be an ailing relatve (parent), or it might be something else.

    Since when was marriage a prerequisite for healhcare?


       —JennyD    Feb. 4 '07 - 02:59PM    #
  65. Jenny:

    I haven’t had a chance to read the opinion in full, but according to the Free Press, the ruling doesn’t preclude offering benefits to domestic partners on some basis other than one which amounts to a defacto recognition of the relationship. I’m not sure what the hell that means… possibly that your suggestion would be a way around the constitution.


       —Daniel Adams    Feb. 4 '07 - 03:40PM    #
  66. In GEO’s last round of contract negotiations, the university’s bargaining team railed against such a GEO proposal because they claimed there would be a cost explosion. While a significant fraction of grad students (and U-M employees generally) are married, it is by no means all, so giving the green light to one per household would be a significant increase in covered people. This was GEO’s proposed way of getting around Prop 2.


       —Dale    Feb. 4 '07 - 05:00PM    #
  67. I did read the opinion and it would seem that if you crafted a system that didn’t rely on marriage or some agreement that reflected a domestic partnership, that such a system wouldn’t run afoul of the marriage amendment. From the viewpoint of the university or a local government, the concern is how to have such a system without such ties. There’s the fiscal angle. There’s also the whole system of health care and insurance and the legal assumptions built into providing it that would balk at providing service to someone who isn’t “legally” related. Now, if we moved away from a health care system that relies on employern-funded health care, we might not have these problems.


       —John Q.    Feb. 5 '07 - 05:32AM    #