Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Push for Gay and Lesbian Domestic Partner Benefits At Marquette: Update

Last Sunday, we blogged about a motion before the Committee on Faculty Welfare calling for domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian faculty and staff at Marquette.

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?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a general FYI:

Legally-Domiciled Adult Benefits are available at the following peer Jesuit and non-Jesuit Catholic universities (many of which Marquette considers peer institutions):

Boston College
Fordham University
Loyola-Chicago
Loyola-Los Angeles
University of San Francisco
Georgetown University
Seattle University
DePaul University

Each of these institutions defines LDAs somewhat differently, but most include coverage of blood-kin relatives, i.e., an elderly parent, in part, under the teaching of caring for the whole person.

And yes, all provide some level of coverage for the long-term partners of LGBTQ employees of the universities. However, depending on the policy in place, these benefits are not wholly equal to the benefits and coverage that are available to the spouses and dependents of heterosexual employees

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Coles said...

Although this policy proposal was precipitated by the growing concern for our LGBTQ colleagues who have loved ones whom they would like to provide for, this "legally domiciled adults" policy seems to me to be in keeping with the primary Catholic mission of caring for all people. It expands the current policy, which now only allows married people to care for others, but it is still an incomplete step. Nevertheless, it is a step we must take to compensate for the fact that the U.S. lacks a national health care policy. If we had a national health care policy, one's marital status, one's sexual relations, etc. would not even be an issue. Personally, I would favor an even more extensive MU policy that allows an employee to cover any dependent person who lacks coverage--a mother, brother, a child I informally adopt. Even with that more expansive policy, it is ridiculous that if I, the covered employee, become so sick that I lose my job, not only do I no longer have access to health care coverage, but all my dependents lose theirs as well. So if "Catholic mission" is congruent with all people having access to health care, I don't see why it could not be congruent with this less expansive LDA policy.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon & Roberta:
So, it's a good idea fo MU because everyones is doing it.
AND
because someone needs help & MU is Catholic, MU should support objectively disordered lifestyles.

If everyone said, "1+1=3", we should still say "NO, its 2."

Can supporters of this bring themselves to say that the LBGTQ lifestylife is objectively disordered?
I don't think so, and therefore show themselves to be thinking NOT with the mind of the Church.

9:25 AM  

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