|Family group calls for AG’s opinion, bill to
limit benefits only to married state employees
Schuette’s legislation from 1998 cited as model
in message to governor, legislative leadership
LANSING, Mich. — In the face of an impending $1.8 billion deficit in the state budget, a statewide family values urged Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders to act to protect taxpayers from being forced to fund yet another multi-million dollar expansion of employment benefits for government employees, the most recent driven by what the group called “an ideological fixation, no matter how much it costs, on forcing taxpayers to subsidize homosexual relationships that many taxpayers consider immoral characterized by behavior that threatens personal and public health.”
Gary Glenn, Midland, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said in a statement sent to Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger that “when our state is already drowning in red ink, forcing taxpayers to fund new benefits for any new group of beneficiaries — especially one at severely elevated risk of substance abuse and expensive life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis — is all the more unthinkable and will further increase both the state budget deficit and the cost of health care for everyone.”
He pointed to a national homosexual activist group’s embarrassing experience with the cost of its own same-sex benefits plan. According to the Washington Blade, a “gay” advocacy newspaper in the nation’s capital, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force — which is critical of employers who cite cost in refusing to offer same-sex benefits — was forced in 2003 to cut back its own same-sex benefits plan, calling it “prohibitively expensive” and unsustainable. http://www.cnsnews.com/node/5503
“When the NGLTF’s unionized staff threatened to go public with a dispute over domestic partner benefits,” the Blade reported, “(executive director Lorri) Jean called for dropping a longstanding NGLTF policy of paying 100 percent of the health insurance premium for staff members’ domestic partners, saying the benefit was prohibitively expensive…(and)…a 100 percent benefit plan for domestic partners could not be sustained, Jean said, at a time when the group had a $500,000 debt.” (Washington Blade, March 7, 2003)
Glenn, one of two co-authors of the Marriage Protection Amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004, said in the statement to Snyder and legislative leaders that because of the scientifically proven social, financial, and health benefits of marriage between a man and a woman, the state should statutorily restrict state employment benefits exclusively to married employees as an incentive.
“Every study ever done proves that traditional marriage results in increased health and financial security for both men and women, and that their children are healthier, do better in school, and are less likely as teens to use drugs, get pregnant, or commit juvenile crime, all of which reduces the cost to taxpayers for law enforcement, social welfare, and other government programs,” Glenn said.
“Getting married is also the single biggest factor in avoiding or escaping poverty,” Glenn said, citing a study published five months ago by the Heritage Foundation which found that in Michigan, children of single mothers are more than six times more likely to live in poverty than children of married parents. http://www.heritage.org/Multimedia/InfoGraphic/2010/Marriage-Poverty-Charts/Marriage-and-Poverty-in-Michigan)
“Rather than force taxpayers to subsidize unmarried relationships, Michigan should as a matter of fiscal policy alone reduce the size and expense of government by doing everything possible to encourage and incentivize traditional marriage,” he said. “That includes saving money by restricting tax-funded employment benefits exclusively to state employees who are married, specifically to reward and encourage employees to get married and stay married.”
“More marriage means less government, less government spending, and less of a burden on taxpayers,” he said.Glenn in his message to Snyder and legislative leaders specifically urged the following steps:
* Formally request that Attorney General Bill Schuette issue an official opinion — which has the force of law unless overturned in court — on whether the state Civil Service Commission’s approval this month of tax-funded spousal-type benefits for the unmarried cohabitants of state employees violates the Marriage Protection Amendment. A pre-election poll by the Detroit Free Press in 2004 found that a larger percentage of the state’s population opposed tax-financed same-sex benefits for government employees than supported the amendment itself, which ended up passing with nearly 60 percent of the vote. (“Gay marriage ban headed for passage,” Detroit Free Press, Oct. 2, 2004)
Glenn said that by drawing the eligibility requirements for such benefits so narrowly — their express purpose being to cover the homosexual partners of state employees, advocates of the policy said, while excluding family members such as parents and siblings — the commission’s plan may have granted legal recognition of unmarried homosexual and heterosexual relationships as being “similar to” marriage, a step the state Supreme Court ruled in 2008 is prohibited by the amendment. Attesting to its agreement with Glenn’s views as a co-author as to the amendment’s intent, the court quoted or cited AFA-Michigan’s legal brief on the issue three times in its decision in Pride at Work (AFL-CIO) v. Granholm.
“As we made clear in public statements as far back as the ballot campaign for the amendment in 2004, we believe an unrestricted benefits policy that allows a state employee to cover anyone he chooses, including family members such as parents, siblings, or grandparents, probably would be constitutional since it obviously would not be based on treating the employee’s relationship as similar to a marriage,” he said. “But that’s not what the Civil Service Commission did.”
But there’s a big distinction between the question of constitutionality and whether such a plan is good public policy, Glenn said. AFA-Michigan would oppose such an unrestricted plan, even if constitutional, because it would increase the tax burden on Michigan families even more than the Civil Service Commission’s plan. Attorneys for the University of Michigan agreed in the Pride at Work case, arguing in court that because of the cost, the university should not be compelled to broadly offer benefits to any individual an employee chooses in order to be allowed to continue covering employees’ homosexual partners.
* Even if Schuette rules the Civil Service Commission plan is allowed under the Marriage Protection Amendment, that doesn’t mean the state constitution requires such benefits be offered, Glenn said. Ideally, the state should instead enact legislation such as that Schuette himself introduced over a decade ago as a member of the state Senate, restricting taxpayer-financed state employment benefits only to the spouses of married employees, with the obvious effect of statutorily prohibiting the commission’s unmarried partner benefits plan in future collective bargaining agreements with state employees. Schuette’s legislation passed the Senate in 1998 but was not brought up for consideration by the House.
Metro Times, a Detroit newsweekly, reported in 1999: “State Sen. Bill Schuette, R-Midland, is pushing legislation prohibiting employees of state-funded entities from receiving domestic partner benefits. That legislation evolved from an earlier Schuette effort to target the extension of such benefits at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and other institutions. The attorney general ruled that public colleges and universities could be barred from extending the benefits only if there was a law against it for all employees of entities receiving state funds. …Ginotti says the senator wants to stop the use of taxes to support benefits for unmarried partners because their bond isnâ€™t legally recognized.” http://www2.metrotimes.com/news/story.asp?id=10989
The Post newspaper at Ohio University reported in 1997: “When Michigan State University became the third Michigan university in September — preceded by Wayne State University and the University of Michigan — to grant such benefits, backlash arose from a state senator. Although the decision was supported by the MSU Board of Trustees after more than two years of research and debate, state Sen. Bill Schuette, R-Midland, created a plan to penalize universities for funding benefits to partners of gay and lesbian faculty and staff by not permitting them to use state money to pay for the benefits, according to the MSU State News. Phil Ginotte, Schuette’s spokesman, said the trustees made an unwise decision — ‘a mistake’ that will ‘resonate through the state,’ according to the Sept. 15 issue of the MSU State News.” (Oct. 27, 1997) http://www.thepost.ohiou.edu/archives/102797/partners.html
Glenn also dismissed arguments by homosexual activist groups and their political allies that the state must subsidize the homosexual and other unmarried partners of state employees in order to be competitive in hiring.
“Homosexual behavior is not a requirement or indicator of being among the best and brightest. The severe public health consequences alone prove that engaging in such behavior is neither the best or brightest decision, and taxpayers certainly shouldn’t be forced to pay for the medical consequences of such behavior.”
“I have been a unionist for 41 years and my work is easily found all over the Web under the ‘Michael Westfall Papers.’ My labor papers are archived in the University of Michigan library, and I was the one who brought legendary UAW leader Victor Reuther to Flint for the 50th Anniversary Rally of the UAW in 1987. Would (Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark) Gaffney suggest that I was anti-labor because I belong to the (American Family Association)? The AFA position (supporting one-man, one-woman marriage) is not an anti-labor stand. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a pro-worker, pro-family and pro-America stand.”
Digging around the Web site of “Pride At Work” reveals a blatant activism.
“Are You A Proud Union Queer?” the site asks. “Thinking about getting inked? Well before you take the plunge, maybe you should take a second and try one of Pride At Work’s new temporary tattoos, just in time for Gay Pride! The message is simple, ‘PROUD UNION QUEER.’”
A broad coalition of religious and family values organizations went toe-to-toe with Big Labor this week, demanding in a letter to American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO) president John Sweeney that union officials rescind a recent resolution supporting homosexual “marriage.”
The letter sent to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
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“A former local United Auto Workers activist, known for his sometimes-maverick views and hard-line stance against General Motors, is among a handful of Michigan residents joining a drive to oppose the AFL-CIO’s support of gay rights. Michael Westfall, a retired truck driver and member of UAW Local 598, is one of three state residents who have signed a national petition…urg(ing) the union to rescind its opposition to a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. …Westfall, 59, now finds himself aligned with state Sen. Mike Goschka, R-Saginaw, and Gary Glenn, Michigan president of the American Family Association in signing the petition against the AFL-CIO. …’I’m not anti-union, but the union doesn’t come first,’ Westfall said. ‘With Christians, Christ and the Bible come first.’”
Please follow Paul Weyrich’s example by publishing your own commentary to help educate pro-family union members about the AFL-CIO’s homosexual “marriage” resolution.
“(AFL-CIO President John) Sweeney made a miscalculation which could cost him the election. Approximately 44 pro-family organizations sent a letter to Sweeney asking him to reverse the AFL-CIO position on the Federal Marriage Amendment and the various state marriage amendments. In an unreported move, Sweeney formed a coalition with Gays and Lesbians and had the AFL-CIO Executive Committee approve a resolution against traditional marriage. …The pro-family groups told Sweeney that they would do everything possible to see that rank and file union workers knew about this resolution before the AFL-CIO Annual Convention in Chicago in July. …(I)f enough AFL-CIO members learn about the anti-traditional marriage resolution, they may cast their lot with the dissidents. It could determine whether Sweeney keeps his job.”
WORLD NET DAILY
June 18, 2005
Pro-family groups take on Big Labor Demanding AFL-CIO drop resolution backing same-sex marriage
The groups sent a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, asserting the resolution threatens the rights of workers who support traditional marriage and families, reported Agape Press.
The AFL-CIO Executive Committee’s March 3 resolution, which labor officials unanimously adopted, opposes federal and state constitutional amendments to define marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman.
The resolution reiterates the AFL-CIO’s “longstanding support for the full inclusion and equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace and society.”
The Executive Committee says a federal Marriage Protection Amendment and its state counterparts “threaten the rights of working people by creating an environment across the nation that is hostile to the rights of domestic partners, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
But the coalition of pro-family leaders contends it’s the AFL-CIO that is threatening the rights of its workers who support traditional marriage and families.
Pastor, union worker takes gay marriage opposition online
by Tammie Brewer, Brookhaven Daily Leader
A local pastor and union worker, striking back at the AFL-CIO’s opposition to a federal amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, has launched a Web site to further his cause.
The Rev. Kendall Boutwell, 41, who leads a Brookhaven church and also works at Georgia Pacific in Monticello, created www.unionworkersagainstgaymarriage.com to enlist support against the president and executive council of the AFL-CIO, which in March announced its opposition to a federal marriage amendment.
The AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization for nearly 60 American labor unions comprising more than 13 million dues-paying workers, said Boutwell, who is a member of United Stell Workers Local 371.
“We hereby declare that MARRIAGE is the union of one man to one woman, and we do not support legal recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions. WE SUPPORT THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT!” an announcement on Boutwell’s Web site states.
“The AFL-CIO didn’t ask the unions what they thought,” Boutwell said, so he and other union workers at Georgia Pacific decided to make a stand against gay marriage.
“Only 1 to 2 percent of the population wants gay marriages,” Boutwell said, “not the other 98 percent.”
June 13, 2005
AFL-CIO Urged to Halt Support of “Proud Union Queers”
by Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
CNS NEWS — Leaders of more than three dozen family-oriented organizations have sent a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, urging him and his federation to rescind its support of same-sex marriage and stop using members’ dues to advance the agendas of homosexual and transgender activists, including one group that calls its members “proud union queers.”
June 13, 2005
Another Marriage Battle
by Luke Mullins and Tory Newmyer,
Roll Call Staff
An AFL-CIO executive committee resolution opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment was attacked this week by a broad coalition of religious and traditional-values organizations.
In a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, more than three dozen state and national organizations Ã¢â‚¬â€ including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Vote, the Coalition of African American Pastors and Christian television and radio networks Ã¢â‚¬â€ implored union officials to rescind their opposition to the FMA at the labor groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s annual convention, which will be held July 25-28 in Chicago.