Friday, March 25, 2011

Marquette to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits to Gay Couples

From the Journal-Sentinel:
Marquette University plans to start offering domestic partner benefits to its employees in 2012, a move that comes about a year after the university’s decision to rescind a job offer to a lesbian candidate caused the campus to erupt in debate.

In a statement sent to the campus Thursday afternoon, Marquette President Robert A. Wild said he’s been wrestling with an idea of offering the benefits that would provide services for gay and lesbian employees for years.

University officials said the timing of the announcement was influenced by votes in recent weeks by the University Academic Senate and the Marquette University Student Government that have urged the university to offer benefits for domestic partners.

“If we are truly pastoral in our application of the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, I asked myself if I could reconcile that with denying health benefits to a couple who have legally registered their commitment to each other,” Wild said. In Latin, cura personalis means “care for the entire person.”

Wild noted that the State of Wisconsin gives legal recognition both to marriage for heterosexual couples and to a registered domestic partnership for same-sex couples.
This comes as rather a surprise to us, since we assumed that any action on the plan to support gay unions would come after Wild leaves at the end of this year. We have, of course, reported on the movement by the campus gay lobby to get such benefits.

What’s interesting is the very lame statements made in defense of this policy change. The University Academic Senate and the Marquette University Student Government are invoked as legitimating the move, but in fact both bodies consist of self-selected political activists who are representative neither of the faculty nor of the student body.

Indeed, several members of the Academic Senate expressed, in private conversations, severe reservations about the policy, but nobody had the courage to vote against it, thus it passed with: 26 in favor, 0 opposed, 3 abstained.

Even more bogus is the claim that since the State of Wisconsin recognizes same-sex civil unions, Marquette is somehow obligated to.

In the first place, Wisconsin’s recognition of civil unions is probably unconstitutional, and is now being appealed to the state Supreme Court. In 2006, voters passed the following amendment to the state constitution:
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.
While a Democratic legislature and a Democratic governor (Doyle) established a domestic partnership registry, nothing in the legislation they passed imposes any obligation on the private sector to recognize gay unions.

So invoking Wisconsin’s domestic partner registry is merely a smoke screen.

More serious is the claim that not subsidizing gay domestic partnerships would be “denying health benefits to a couple.” In the first place, the gay Marquette employee would get benefits. His or her partner would have to get benefits elsewhere. Homosexual couples are much less likely to have children than straight couples, and the “partner” would likely be working, and quite likely at a place that provides health care.

If not, Marquette faculty are not poor, and the gay couple (likely in a two-income household) might have to buy health insurance. If perchance the gay “partner” of a Marquette faculty member had a very low income, that person would be eligible for Medicaid since, after all, not recognizing the “partnership” means that the gay person with the substantial income is under no obligation to buy insurance for a poor “partner.”

What this represents is nothing less than a wholesale repudiation of the Catholic mission of the university. Marquette is explicitly recognizing and subsidizing sexual unions that Church teaching says are illicit.

The problem, and this afflicts all religious institutions, is that the secular culture of academia generally assimilates colleges that were founded on Christian principles.

Faculty are hired who are . . . well, just average college faculty who are liberal, secular and politically correct.

Administrators are hired who have the same secular values, and feel most comfortable aping the policies of secular institutions.

And there are the bureaucratic imperatives: it’s always easier to cave to interest group demands. And each and every “initiative” to placate some interest group increases the power and the budget of some bureaucratic empire. Thus the Marquette bureaucracy is overwhelmingly liberal and politically correct, and this includes the Provost’s office, Student Affairs, the Campus Ministry, Mission and Identity, the Honors Program, Women’s and Gender Studies and most humanities and social science departments.

Strong leadership at the top might might counterbalance this, but unfortunately Father Wild doesn’t provide that. He has a history of being manipulated by various interest groups, whether it be the Indian tribal leaders on the issue of whether Marquette should use the Warriors nickname, or by Student Affairs on the issue of whether Marquette should recognize the Gay/Straight Alliance.

And this time, he has allowed himself to be manipulated by the campus gay lobby, who raised a fierce hue and cry when Marquette refused to hire Jodi O’Brien. He caved to pressure in refusing to hire O’Brien, and now he feels the need to make amends to the gay lobby, so he caves to their pressure on this.

It takes considerable vision and fortitude to maintain any religious identify at a college or university, and both are missing at Marquette.

[Update]

We have rejected a couple of comments that call people opposed to domestic partner benefits “bigots” and “homophobes.”

It’s terribly revealing that people on the gay side of this issue so quickly resort to such language.

Please, if you are going to leave a comment, make it a civil argument.

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37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the next president going to treat the school as a jesuit u or another run of the mill school that has nothing unique to offer?

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A public condemnation is in order but there won't be a peep from Jerome Listecki.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Listecki's plate is....ahhh....rather full right now.

Regardless, he may say something. Best thing for him to do is to publicly request that Marquette stop using "Catholic" as part of its self-description.

He certainly has grounds for that, and it is within his authority to do so.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they are truly pastoral in their application of the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, and if Fr. Wild asked himself if he could reconcile that with denying health benefits to a couple who have legally registered their commitment to each other, then he can reconcile it without my donations.

There is nothing Catholic about this university anymore.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should quit in protest. You must be nearing retirement anyway, right. Not to do so would be tacit approval.

11:17 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Not to do so would be tacit approval.

When gays and lesbians took jobs at Marquette when Marquette didn't have domestic partner benefits, wasn't that tacit approval on their part of the then-current Marquette policy?

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Domestic partner benefits not new to area Catholic institutions: Stritch and Alverno

http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/118692974.html

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is "cura personalis" latin for there is no real truth, or it's all relative?
So Stritch & Alverno don't mind confirming someone in sin, doesn't mean MU should sully itself.
Anon90

4:40 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Going to Hell not unusual for humans.

But that doesn't mean I should FOLLOW you there.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next confession I make, I'm gonna try convincing the priest that all of my sins were acceptable legally. Wonder how that is going to work.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you're at it you should monitor the sexual activities of "legal marriages". Make sure none of them are using their benefits to procure birth control or using money from their salaries to purchase condoms, as they inhibit the possibility of creation. And make sure you don't videotape them because then you would be creating pornography.

I mean really, these benefits should only be given to true "catholic" partnerships- one man, one woman, zero contraceptives and no self-fulfilling sexual activities.

Oh, and one more thing- tell me you've never once performed a sexual act "in sin"- no masturbation, no use of contraception, no illicit behaviors?

John 8:7

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When gays and lesbians took jobs at Marquette when Marquette didn't have domestic partner benefits, wasn't that tacit approval on their part of the then-current Marquette policy?"
That logic could be applied to oppose any improvement in workers' (or human) rights. Women are already working without maternity leave, so why guarantee they keep their job if they have a baby?

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus was totally against love and acceptance...

10:30 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I mean really, these benefits should only be given to true "catholic" partnerships- one man, one woman, zero contraceptives and no self-fulfilling sexual activities.

You seem to fail to understand the difference between Marquette condoning illicit sexual activities, and things people might do that Marquette doesn't know about and doesn't concern itself with.

11:54 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Jesus was totally against love and acceptance...

Which means he thought sinful behavior was OK?

I suppose you aren't allowed to say anything is sinful, because if you do, you are not showing "love and acceptance."

11:56 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Marquette COULD design a bennies program which does not reimburse for chemical contraceptives, of course, just as they could design one which does not pay for abortions.

I'm not arguing that MU was never a 'material cooperator' in sin. I'm arguing that this is far more egregious--and scandalous. Most people who use their healthplan to purchase contraceptives are not advertising that they are in a "non-marital" relationship, hetero- or homo-sex.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Badger Catholic said...

Spot on.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Jitpring said...

Wonderful! The forces of light and darkness are becoming ever clearer. Let the neo-barbarians continue their march to hell!

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're forgetting about the part where domestic partner benefits not only will be given to gay and lesbian couples but also to other domestic partners, such as a middle aged single man and his aging mother.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time for the Bishop to strip Marquette of it's Catholic identity. They've already discarded it willingly so I can't imagine it will be a problem for them.

And, with all charity I can muster, some of the comments are amazingly stupid.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a graduate of Marquette University and am sickened by the trends I see taking place at Catholic colleges.
If I lived in Milwaukee, I would have organized a protest against the gay agenda at MU. I did exactly that in another city where the Catholic university allowed three gay pride student groups on campus and gave them the best office space possible. For 5 years, a group of twenty Catholics, myself included, protested against the pride groups. We passed out letters to parents, donors and grandparents to let them know the truth. The result was hundreds of parents took their child out of the school ( $40K/yr = lost) and hundreds of donors stopped giving. It was a huge undertaking on our part, and in the end cost the university millions. We were viciously attacked by students, teachers and bystanders. The student newspaper
called us Nazi's. We were constantly threatened with lawsuits. Through it all we held our signs and prayed the Rosary. Our mission was to tell the parents,donors and grandparents the truth. Lastly, many students wanted to join our protest but were warned by the University they would be expelled if they did. The University said the protest amounted to a hate
crime based on their charter.
A sign reading " gay groups on campus " was termed hate.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Louis de Montfort said...

I suppose there is another useless bishop there doing nothing about this pagan U.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If being gay is such a sin, why are there so many gay and lesbian people? Why are kids as young as 13 coming out as gay and saying that they have NO attraction to the opposite sex? What is casuing this if not Nature or something inbred. Obviously homosexuality must be part of Nature's plan because gays keep being born and will continue to be born. It's been that way since the beginning of time. Obviously there's room for gays in the pantheon of Nature. Homosexuality never goes away, nor will it ever go away. And even very conservative religious people have gay sons and daughters. It is never going to change. Gays and Lesbians are moving into full acceptance. You are fighting a loosing battle.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous paul stuart said...

M.U. has become too politically correct. No more $ from me.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

The rather huge elephant in this particular living room is the inaction (thus far) on the part of the Bishop. Contrary to all the bull about "academic freedom" and "autonomy" the Bishop has the power, right and duty to step in and reverse this decision. Yes, he could rightfully demand that Marquette remove the word "Catholic" from their masthead but that is essentially taking the coward's way out.

The ball is CLEARLY in Bishop Listecki's court and whether he has a full plate just now or not he needs to act quickly and decisively if he wants to distance the Church from the homosexual barbarism that is engulfing it. And if he wants the Church to be taken seriously in its oft-stated promise to end homosexual predation of adolescent boys then he had better act in this case.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the poster who, as noted above, led a anti GAY PRIDE protest at a Catholic university for five years. I am not an expert on these trends but I think it is worth noting the Catholic church has not declared being gay a sin, only acting on such urges. Protesting against these campus groups forces one to walk a fine line because some are drawn to such protests based on a genuine hatred of homosexuals while others find it comical to taunt gays.Both are sinful motives. Our mission was to stop the promotion of these groups at schools that claimed they were Catholic.
By 2006 more and more Catholic colleges were jumping on this PC bandwagon. I would guess more than 50% of the 216 Catholic colleges in America have these groups.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Angry Jason said...

Care for the whole person? How is that served providing a material benefit at the expense of someones soul from the tacit approval that gives?

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Devin said...

I find it a little odd that you reject comments that use the word bigot and homophobe to describe people against the benefits yet you allow comments that talk about being condemned to hell, sins, "homosexual barbarism" and even a comment equating this decision as being contrary to a stance against adolescent abuse; a comment which clearly tries to paint a stereotype of gay men as pedophiles.

It's your blog and you can obviously do what you want but it certainly seems like you're heavily favoring one side of the comments with this one. In the past you've allowed many, many comments that were against your views which I always appreciated but you've backtracked here. Yes, you can argue that the Catholic Church says it is a sin and therefore you should allow the comments because that's the view you take on the issue. Other views however support the contention that people who are against domestic partner benefits are bigots. You don't have to agree with it but it's certainly there. Your refusal to allow comments of those nature makes it feel like you're shutting out the open debate you usually allow in the comments.

8:17 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

you allow comments that talk about being condemned to hell, sins, "homosexual barbarism" and even a comment equating this decision as being contrary to a stance against adolescent abuse;

What I'm deleting is comments directed against me or other people who posted comments.

I generally let people get away with a lot when they are talking about people besides me and other posters.

I would reject a post aimed directly at you -- one calling you a barbarian or saying you are going to hell.

And I would let a leftist poster talk about "capitalist barbarism" in response to a post on economics.

I have a lot of experience moderating alt.assassination.jfk, and fine distinctions can matter sometimes, and I don't claim to always get it right.

At any rate, feel free to post what you want supporting the policy. You are welcome to say that there is no rational reason to oppose the policy.

Just don't call people on the other side "bigots" or "homophobes."

10:07 PM  
Blogger diana said...

I will not even consider MU for my children. It is absolutely not an option.

And it would be nice if Archbishop Listecki would address this issue...whether his plate is full or not he took the position knowing full well what the situation is here in Milwaukee, as did Archbishop Dolan was made aware (and warned) before he came here.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous jpk said...

So it's ok for child molesters, murderers, and other felons to receive benefits through marriage but not a loving (either homo- or hetero-sexual) partner?

As long as the child molester, murderer, or other felon is in a heterosexual marriage it's ok to confer benefits... but not those gays!

The moral high ground, this is...

9:21 AM  
Anonymous jpk said...

Thought this definition might be interesting to this thread...

bigot: a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess any 2 people, as long as one is an employee of the intitution, can claim they are partners and receive family health benefits.
Who is going to pay for this nonsense?

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To diana and others,
During the course of our five year protest against gay pride groups on Catholic campuses, a nationally
known Catholic educator called me
and asked if I would be willing to meet with some of the top leaders in the Catholic Church in America. I agreed. Weeks later I met with three high level members of the Catholic church for about two hours. In order to set the stage, I was told by the most powerful of those I was meeting with that hundreds of people
try to meet with me each day, and 99% are turned away. I guess that day I was in the 1% club.
These leaders of the Catholic Church in America wanted to know if the protest was part of something bigger and who was really behind it. It was one of those times you want to laugh but know it would not go over too well, as they were serious about the question.
In the end they were neutral
on the protest. I was left with the imprssion they did not care
one way or the other. And that was
a bit depressing.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Marquette wants to consider itself a Catholic institution, it really should respect Catholic teaching on faith and morals. But this takes courage.

One commenter said that those who oppose the gay lifestyle are fighting a losing battle. This may be true in our neo-pagan society but losing a fight is much different than running away or simply giving up without a fight.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're forgetting about the part where domestic partner benefits not only will be given to gay and lesbian couples but also to other domestic partners, such as a middle aged single man and his aging mother."

That is becausse there is no other part. Marquette's policy requires a registered domestic partnership under WI law.

This means that ONLY same-sex couples receive benefits. So a single male faculty member could insure any other male sharing the same address EXCEPT his father/brother/cousin.

Marquette's definition of being "pastoral" is to extend benefits to gay faculty members while turning away the single individual caring for a disabled family member.

This policy has nothing to do with need, and everything to do with rejecting Catholic beliefs about homosexuality and marriage.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Bryce Thomason said...

President Obama is firmly committed to the homosexual agenda and recent promises made to the LBGT and others have caused some in the conservative movement and the evangelical and Pentecostal churches to shudder. It is also clear that the church's concerns have little bearing on the President's position to throw the doors open for the "gay agenda by closing the steel doors around those who make so much as a whimper against the gays. Signing the untested and highly suspect Matthew Shepard act is the latest evidence of that.

12:14 AM  

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