Tuesday, February 22, 2011

University Academic Senate Approves Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay and Lesbian Faculty

As we predicted, the proposal passed.

The vote was 26 in favor, 0 opposed, 3 abstained. Real opposition among faculty in the Academic Senate was higher than this (although not nearly a majority), but nobody apparently was bold enough to openly oppose the proposal.

Here is the proposal.

This is called the spiral of silence. The campus gay lobby and liberal allies have essentially intimidated the opposition.

This vote, of course, is not binding on the Marquette administration.

This issue will be a major test for the new Marquette president, Scott Pilarz. Will he be just another bureaucrat, doing what is fashionable and placating interest groups, or will he actually stand up for the Catholic mission of Marquette?

We are not at all optimistic.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Will he be just another bureaucrat, doing what is fashionable and placating interest groups, or will he actually stand up for the Catholic mission of Marquette?"

Textbook example of a false dichotomy (a.k.a. false dilemma) fallacy.

Nice.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God not Lesbians!!!!!! Why did it have to be Lesbians.

5:48 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

false dilemma) fallacy.

You actually think that doing what is fashionable and placating interest groups is consistent with standing up for the Catholic mission?

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of a false dichotomy is that you present two alternatives as if they are the only ones possible.

Can you really not think of any other alternatives to what you have presented here? It may be that you can't because you have such an extremely narrow and conservative notion of what constitutes "the Catholic mission at Marquette." But yours is not the only notion. So here is an alternative to which you seem blind: Pilarz will stand up for the Catholic mission at Marquette by showing love, care and compassion towards ALL faculty members and their families, instead of punishing them and discriminating against them by not giving them the basic benefits all other faculty members enjoy.

I realize that you are probably not going to be able to accept this as a possibility. But that says more about you than it does about what the possibilities are.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous scott said...

You honestly believe you are the undisputed arbiter of what "the Catholic mission" means? I bet there's a lot of Catholics who think otherwise.

4:10 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Pilarz will stand up for the Catholic mission at Marquette by showing love, care and compassion towards ALL faculty members and their families

Translation: he will subsidize relationships that Church teaching considers illicit.

You argument might make sense if gay and lesbian faculty members were somehow poor, and would go without health care or food without a subsidy.

But in fact they are middle class, almost always with two wage earners in the household.

You might show "love and compassion" to people who disagree with you about sexual ethics.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Your response to me really is fairly weak.

First, I was not offering any argument for what the Catholic mission is or ought to be, or even that MU should extend benefits heterosexual couples get to non-heterosexual couples. If there was an argument, it was for the claim that you commited the logical fallacy of false dichotomy.

Second, if it is simply the wrong action to take (since God and God's spokesperson in Rome would say so), then what difference would it make morally speaking if gay people were poor or lower middle class? Are you really saying that if they were poor or lower middle class then "subsidizing their illicit behavior" would be okay?

Third, of course you offer the "translation" you do; you cannot possibly see how extending the same benefits to the families of all employees could possibly be consistent with Christian values. For people like you, the only Christian values are those that concern sexuality morality.

Fourth, I simply don't by the idea that extending benefits to same-sex couples is "subsidizing illicit behavior". The so-called illicit behavior, I would assume, is not living with a person of the same sex but actually having sex with a person of the same sex. So how does extending benefits to same-sex couples subsidize sexual behavior? If it subsidizes anything, it subsidizes same-sex cohabitation. But surely that's not "illicit" unless you think the guys in the Jesuit residence are, in virtue of living with other men, engaged in illicit behavior. The fact is that same-sex partner benefits no more subsidize homosexual sexual activity than heterosexual partner benefits subsidize birth control for faculty members who use birth control.

Fourth, your suggestion that people who are middle class don't need partner benefits is a really a bit crazy. EVERYONE needs these benefits. My guess is that you have not given up your MU benefits because you are middle class. And I would also guess that you would not change your mind about same-sex benefits in cases in which one partner was unemployed.

Finally, the bit at the end is a bit weird. What sort of love and compassion are you looking for? I am not arguing that you should not have the same benefits that I enjoy simply because you are a conservative Catholic. I am not even arguing that you should not have whatever beliefs about sexual morality that you want. What I am saying is that your views about Catholic mission at a university are not the only views (or the only correct views). And as a result of thinking that they are, you commit a very basic logical fallacy.

12:04 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

if it is simply the wrong action to take (since God and God's spokesperson in Rome would say so), then what difference would it make morally speaking if gay people were poor or lower middle class?

If gay couples were poor, and would (without the benefits) actually suffer, then Catholic moral disapproval might perhaps give way to ministering to the poor.

But we aren't talking about poor people here.

It's one thing to deny a benefit to someone who might suffer as a result, and another to give it to somebody who is already affluent.

So how does extending benefits to same-sex couples subsidize sexual behavior?

Read the proposal. It makes it clear it's for same sex couples who are actually sexual partners.

Actually, it discriminates against (say) two guys who are straight roomates, with one being out of work and needing medical coverage, since they are not having sex.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it discriminates against (say) two guys who are straight roomates, with one being out of work and needing medical coverage, since they are not having sex.

I think this is wonderful. Think of all of the opportunities that the proposal opens up. What if, say, there is one MU employee living with a man and a woman. The man could be covered under the policy but what about the woman? We can't have a woman without health care so she would need to be covered, too. But she might not be having sex with the MU man since he is having sex with the other male roommate. If the MU male starts having sex with the female does that mean that the male can no longer be covered and has to give up benefits? Why not pay benefits to both the man and the woman then? Isn't that just fair?

How about, say, an MU female that lives with 3 men and 2 women and they all have sex together and separately? Do you give benefits to them all or does the MU female have to pick one of her lovers as the "primary" lover so that he/she can claim benefits.

Gosh, the mind boggles at the penultimate possibilities inherent in the recommended policy. I think I'll have to apply for employment at MU. Well, that and find another guy to screw. Or be screwed by. Or does it matter? Or, aren't we all just screwed (up)?

Anon2

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,

This isn't a fals dichotomy. Subsidizing gay partnerships and cohabitation/concubinage would put MU in the position of participating in sin.

Anon, you are flying a false-flag argument. You imply that partner Benefits are a "Help the Needy" issue. What you really want is to get a Catholisorganization to suport the gay agenda.
If it were about the "poor' why not extend health benefits to extended family members & cousins?

I bet you can't even admit that sodomy is a sin. I challenge you.
State that it is & that you back
para 2357 in the Catechism.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

You can't can you.

AnonAlum1990

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AA1990

I never made the poor or needy argument. That was McAdams' straw man formulation of my argument. So, no false flag argument. You might want to read my post before commenting upon it.

The thing that you and McAdams cannot recognize is that there might be a difference between what the Pope says and what the Catholic mission at a Jesuit university might be. If MU hired and served only Catholics, the connection might be as close as you think it is. But a large proportion of students who are being served at MU are not Catholic, and there is no Catholic litmus test in hiring faculty (which is necessary to have anything close to a respectable research profile, which is also part of the university's mission). Maybe you think there should be, but that is not the way things work at most Catholic universities in the US. A Catholic university is not supposed to be like a Catholic high school. A university COULD go that route, but it would not be a strong research institution. This seems to be where people like you and McAdams get stuck: you can't see that there might be a distinction between the Catholic mission of a university and what Rome says.

Furthermore, your claim that extending benefits "subsidizes" illicit sex seems unsupported. This would suggest that in hetero couples, benefits would subsidize (pay for, in some way) the right sort of sex. But what could this mean? Sex doesn't cost anything, and you can have it anywhere and with anyone. So maybe you don't mean "subsidize." Maybe what you mean is that it promotes or encourages illicit sex. But this too seems dubious. A hetero employee's having benefits for his/her spouse doesn't promote or encourage sexuality. Hetero couples are no more or less likely to have (the right sort of) sex depending on whether there is a spousal benefits package. (And it certainly doesn't encourage sex without intercourse over oral, or no birth-control over using birth-control.)

So at this point I see no good reason to say that extending benefits results in the church participating in or subsidizing sin. And that is also part of the reason why in my opinion it is completely irrelevant to this issue whether the Church or I think gay sex is a sin.

McAdams might want to jump in here and shift the justification by saying that what the benefits are supposed to encourage or promote or subsidize is a family model that is best for kids. And here he will mention stats that show poor outcomes for kids in single family homes. Fair enough, if you want to shift your justification. But the problem is that the outcomes for kids of gay couples are actually very good, with very low rates of abuse, etc. So this justification is not going to do it.

Given that there does not seem to be any real sense in which extending benefits makes MU subsidize or promote or participate in sinful activity, it comes down to an issue of fairness. Spousal benefits exist because any competitive workplace has to offer these sorts of benefits, and to deny them to a gay employee and her partner of 15 years and give them to a newlywed couple is simply unfair and discriminatory. I realize that for people like you and McAdams all of the social justice teachings of the Catholic church are to be ignored and the sole focus should be on sexual behavior. But justice and fairness is part of Catholicism, whether you like it or not. And thus, acting in fair way ought to be part of the mission of a Catholic university.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Read the proposal. It makes it clear it's for same sex couples who are actually sexual partners."

I didn't see this in the text. What I saw was: "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."

Is there some bit of text I missed? Because this does not mention sex, illicit or otherwise. It is simply intended to rule out that someone and a casual roommate are eligible. I'm not sure how they could verify sexual activity anyway (in the hetero or non-hetero case).

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon,

Germane to the argument or not, pleased do me a favor and affirm paragraph 2357 of the RCC Catechism, won't you please?

You are obviously very intelligent. I'm not that smart, but what I do see is that you make this more complicated than necessary.
Your first & main argument was essentially "MU vs the Pope" is OK. & that's our blind spot. That tells me that you also believe that the benefit supports sinful behavior, but you cannot admit it.
MU's mission cannot contradict the mission of the Magesterium. They can differ. The Dominicans are not the Carthusians are not the Carmelites are not the Jesuits. But In Christ all cannot be at odds.
Whether faculty/staff/students are not Catholic is immaterial to whether MU should contradict its Catholic identity. It cannot contradict its Catholic ID for anyone, or it denies Christ.

To your second point is very clever but misses the point. you try to say that my displeasure of the benefits are based on homosex. That is not the case. Think more broadly. Any unmarried sex is objectively sinful. MU providing benefits for gay or straight unmarried couples would be a participation in their sin. Unmarried couples are to perform the marriage act, but cohabitating singles (not just roommmates)are assumed to engage in that activity. If MU somehow isn't participating in their sin, they are at LEAST involved in scandal by assenting to these non-unions.

Off Topic:Gay couples are good for Kids? I doubt it. How about MU's mission involves educating & they can't do that as well when tuition is higher because MU is paying for everyone's health care. You must think MUs mission is to provide universal health care.

Please affirm the 2357 paragraph of the RC Catechism for me so that I know we can agree on that.
Thank You,

AnonAlum 1990

3:19 PM  

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