Marquette to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits to Gay Couples
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.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.
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.
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.
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.