The following guest opinion was published in response to the Lansing State Journal’s July 10th misleading editorial found by clicking here.
LANSING STATE JOURNAL
July 13, 2006
Proposal 2 clearly written, clearly backed
by Gary Glenn
As usual, the LSJ (July 10 editorial) misrepresented the American Family Association of Michigan’s lawsuit against Michigan State University.
The purpose of the Marriage Protection Amendment is to protect not just the word “marriage,” but the unique legal and social standing of the institution of marriage.
MSU’s same-sex benefits policy unconstitutionally establishes eligibility by using the requirements for marriage found in state law, inserting the words “domestic partnership” instead.
MSU’s policy itself discriminates, applying only to homosexual employees. Appropriately, unmarried heterosexual couples don’t qualify. Neither do an employee’s mother, sister or roommate. If MSU doesn’t let an employee put her sick grandmother on university insurance, how do they justify singling out only homosexual employees? Constitutionally, they cannot.
As we explained in a September 2004 news release, the amendment “won’t stop any employer from offering benefits to anyone the employer chooses, so long as it’s not on the basis of formally recognizing homosexual relationships as equal or similar to marriage. A government employer could adopt an ‘anything goes’ policy, allowing employees to add anyone they wish to their health coverage – a sick relative, a neighbor, or even their homosexual partner – so long as the offer is available to all employees and not only to those involved in a homosexual relationship.”
AFA-Michigan does not endorse or encourage such a dramatic expansion of taxpayer-subsidized benefits for two reasons:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ It would result in a heavier tax burden on Michigan families who don’t have government-paid insurance.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ We believe society should continue to uniquely encourage and incentivize one-man, one-woman marriage because of its proven benefits to society.
Nonetheless, the expanded policy would be constitutional. What’s unconstitutional are taxpayer-subsidized benefits only for government employees involved in homosexual relationships, expressly on the basis of recognizing such relationships as equal or similar to marriage.
In June 2004, opponents of the amendment issued a statement praising AFA-Michigan’s openness on the subject: “Last night, … both sides agreed that the amendment would go much further than defining marriage by also eliminating any government-sanctioned domestic partnership benefits. ‘I’m glad we could find common ground with the AFA, and I want to thank Gary Glenn for his willingness to be up front on this point,’ said Wendy Howell, Campaign Manager for Coalition for a Fair Michigan.”
The Detroit Free Press reported, September 2004: “Proponents and opponents of the amendment say (same-sex benefits offered by universities) would be prohibited to the extent they mimic benefits for married employees.”
The Free Press reported, in October 2004: “In a poll of 830 registered voters, support for Proposal 2 was at 53 percent … Even more (54 percent) say local governments and universities should not provide benefits, such as health and life insurance, to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.”
The campaign supporting the Marriage Protection Amendment focused on its primary intent: protecting the legal definition of marriage. If it had focused on stopping benefits for the homosexual partners of government employees, the poll indicates voter approval would have been even stronger.