Marquette Faculty Senate Committee Pushes Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay and Lesbian Employees
Tomorrow (Monday) a subcommittee of the Committee on Faculty Welfare of the University Academic Senate will meet to consider something they call “Legally Domiciled Adult” benefits. The meeting will be from 1:00-2:30 in Room 364 of the Alumni Memorial Union.
The following e-mail was sent to members of the subcommittee:
Dear colleagues,How does that motion that Hanson is willing to “midwife” read? Here it is:
The LDA benefits motion was modified slightly for clarity at the Subcommittee on Equity meeting last night. Attached you will find the final motion that was unanimously approved by the subcommittee membership.
We on the Subcommittee on Equity are anxious for this motion to be successful but we all need to give the shared governance process a chance to work. This motion will move forward to Committee on Faculty Welfare (CFW). The co-chairs (Matt Blessing and Judith McMullem) of that committee are copied on this email and have been actively involved in the process to this point, which is a real advantage. When/if the motion is approved by CFW it will be forwarded to the executive committee of UAS. The chair and vice-chair of UAS [University Academic Senate] are aware that the motion is on its way (another advantage). If the Executive Committee agrees to allow it to go on the agenda, then it can be presented at UAS. After it is presented, UAS can decide if they are ready for a vote. As I mentioned, I am willing to “midwife” the motion through the process and present it at UAS. I would anticipate that if all goes well the earliest it could be heard at UAS would be January or February. When it is presented, I think it would be good to mobilize all of our own senators to be aware of the importance of this motion as an equity issue.
Congratulations on a very good motion and a collaborative process! Thank you for everyone’s effort to make this possible, especially to the author of the original motion.
With thanks and kind regards, Lisa
Lisa Hanson, PhD, CNM, FACNM
College of Nursing
Here is the PDF version with all the original formatting intact.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EQUITY MOTION
ESTABLISHMENT OF LEGALLY DOMICILED ADULTS BENEFIT PLANS
• Whereas Marquette University has a statement of non-discrimination, which reads: “Marquette University does not discriminate in any manner contrary to law or justice on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, veteran’s status or national origin in its educational programs or activities, including employment and admissions”;
• Whereas, the Ignatian principle of cura personalis stems from a conviction of the transcendent and divinely-conferred equal dignity of all persons, regardless of societal status or cultural recognition;
• Whereas, the provision of benefits to those designated as “Legally Domiciled Adults” (LDAs) is consistent with the Catholic Church’s long-standing teaching that access to healthcare is fundamental to human dignity;
• Whereas, a comprehensive definition of LDA is;
A Legally Domiciled Adult is an individual over 18 who has, for at least 6 months, lived in the same principal residence with the employee and remains a member of the employee’s household throughout the coverage period; and who
EITHER (Category A) has a close personal relationship with the employee (not a casual roommate or tenant), shares basic living expenses and is financially interdependent with the employee. The LDA is neither legally married to anyone else nor legally related to the employee by blood in any way that would prohibit marriage, and is not receiving benefits from an employer and is not eligible for any group coverage;
OR (Category B) is a blood relative who meets the definition of a tax dependent as defined by Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code during the coverage period and is not receiving benefits from an employer, is not eligible for any group coverage and would not be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid due to age or other factors.
(Seattle University HRWebsite http://www.seattleu.edu/hr/Inner.aspx?id=38516 retrieved 10-28-10)
• Whereas Marquette University does not currently provide human resources benefits to LDAs;
• Whereas in particular, this gap in human resources policies violates the University’s non-discrimination statement to the extent that not providing said benefits renders lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered-identified (LGBT)-identified employees as being treated differently from all other University employees on the basis of their sexual orientation;
• Whereas as of November 2010—according to human resources information readily accessible on their respective websites—an increasing number of peer Jesuit and other Catholic colleges and universities provide LDA plans including but not limited to: DePaul University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, University of San Francisco, Loyola University-Los Angeles, Loyola University-Chicago, Santa Clara University, and Seattle University;
• Whereas Marquette’s long historical commitment to the Jesuit tradition of social justice and equity calls the University to join this group;
• Whereas failure to provide benefits in a manner that is equitable and fair to all University employees including those with LDAs is an action that is out of line with policies at public institutions, private institutions, and religious institutions with which Marquette regularly competes to attract high-quality faculty and thus makes faculty and administrator recruitment and retention increasingly difficult at Marquette;
• Whereas the provision of LDA benefits will enhance the inclusivity and quality of life of the entire Marquette community;
Be it resolved that the University Academic Senate call for the President of Marquette University, Father Robert Wild, to direct that current human resource benefits policies be amended no later than the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year to provide LDA benefits equal to the benefits currently provided to the spouses and dependents of faculty, administrators, and staff.
Interestingly, this policy, if adopted, would not only provide domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian “partners” of Marquette faculty, it would provide the same benefits for heterosexual “partners” who are living together, and aren’t willing to get married.
Our former colleague Christopher Wolfe has written a response to this motion.
The motion clearly represents an effort to reject — contrary to Catholic teaching — any distinction between a real marriage and other relationships. It would seem to apply to cohabiting heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. (Perhaps MU already covers the former.)Of course, liberal and leftist faculty can pass a lot of motions and have them ignored by the administration.
The motion also clearly would discriminate against anyone who has a blood relative living with him or her who is not a tax dependent: e.g., a mother or aunt younger than 65, who has a pension. It is predicated on a “close personal relationship,” which pretty clearly is intended to imply a sexual relationship, though they jump through hoops to avoid saying that (maybe to avoid discriminating against impotent homosexuals!).
Adopting the motion would put MU on record as minimizing or denying the essential difference between marriage and other cohabiting arrangements. That is, I believe, its very intention.
It would be best to defeat the motion entirely.
If that can’t be done, then it would be best to amend the motion to delete: in category A “ . . .has a close personal relationship with the employee (not a casual roommate or tenant . . .” and “. . . is neither legally married to anyone else nor legally related to the employee by blood in any way that would prohibit marriage, and . . .” So Category A would read:“and shares basic living expenses, is financially interdependent with the employee, and is not receiving benefits from an employer and is not eligible for any group coverage.”The motion is wrong when it says that the current policy “renders lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered-identified (LGBT)-identified employees as being treated differently from all other University employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.” The difference in treatment is not based on their being lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, but rather on the basis of the fact that they are not married. [Unless, that is, MU currently pays for live-in heterosexual cohabitors. But if MU is doing that, then the motion should be amended to eliminate coverage for them, on the same grounds: the benefit was created as a family benefit, based on marriage.]
The fact is that a true commitment to social justice would require that Marquette do nothing to undermine marriage by rendering it irrelevant to fringe benefits that are based on a marital relationship. And, if the benefit is to be changed to a non-marital benefit, it should not be defined, in labyrinthine, elliptical ways, to apply only to sexual relationships (even if that would increase the cost significantly).
But Fr. Wild, feeling the need to placate the gay and lesbian lobby in the wake of the Jodi O’Brien kerfuffle, may be open to such a policy.
In spite of all the blather about “social justice” and “non-discrimination,” this is simply a demand from secular faculty that Marquette subsidize sexual relationships that Church teaching says are illicit.
If Marquette adopts it, they are explicitly admitting that the “Catholic mission” of the University is nothing more than an advertising gimmick — essentially a lie.