The Push for Gay and Lesbian Domestic Partner Benefits At Marquette: Update
This past Wednesday, we talked to Matt Blessing, the Chair of the Committee, who updated us on the status of the issue.
No vote was taken on Monday. Rather the issue is to be voted on via e-mail this coming Monday (December 20th). The plan was for faculty to discuss the issue via e-mail.
Lisa Hanson, of the Subcommittee on Equity, presented the resolution to the full committee, and there was perhaps ten to fifteen minutes of discussion. But according to Blessing “we wanted people to have time to think it over and not force a vote.”
Committee members had only seen early drafts of the resolution, but hadn’t heard anyone explain it.
Asked about the “general tone of the discussion,” Blessing responded “I think it was mixed, I think there were definitely people at the table who were supportive, and there were some who had serious reservations, and there were others who were quiet.”
Some discussion involved what the cost of the proposal would be. Lisa Hanson, after the meeting, contacted Human Resources at Marquette to find out whether they had any information, and found that they did not.
Other discussion revolved around the question of a blood kin individual who might be dependent on a Marquette employee — say a 62 year-old parent who needed health insurance. Some on the Committee believed that the language in the proposal was too vague in defining that category.
The proposal doesn’t limit coverage to gays and lesbians, although the prefatory language makes it clear that coverage for homosexuals is the real issue.
Other discussion revolved around “the Catholic Church” and the “sanctity of marriage,” with some members concerned that “these are issues we need to take seriously.” According to Blessing, this was the primary reason that members did not want to immediately vote on the matter.
When the Subcommittee on Equity was dealing with the issue Stephanie Russell of the Office of Mission and Ministry had attended some of the meetings, and had contacted some of her counterparts at other Catholic universities.
It’s heartening that at least some faculty are willing to raise the issue of Marquette’s Catholic mission, and the propriety of subsidizing relationships that Catholic teaching views as illicit. Framing the issue as “legally domiciled adults” is a transparent fig-leaf which fools nobody.
But do the dissenters constitute a majority (or anything close) on the Committee, or in the Academic Senate? And is the Administration, badly bruised by the Jodi O’Brien fiasco, willing to placate the campus gay lobby with this radical a rejection of the institution’s Catholic mission?