December 8, 2006

Now, are you going to interpret the Wisconsin marriage amendment to preclude domestic partner benefits?

Wisconsin voters have approved the anti-same-sex marriage amendment, despite arguments about how damaging it would be to the university to preclude us from extending domestic partnership benefits. Now, the time for broad interpretations of the text is over, and the new interpretation is, of course, narrow:
In an effort to retain and attract quality staff members, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents voted Thursday to ask for domestic partner benefits for university faculty members....

UW System President Kevin Reilly ... pleaded with the governor and state Legislature to amend state statutes to provide for domestic partner benefits, calling it an issue of basic human fairness and the ability to stay globally effective....

The regents briefly addressed concerns about the state’s gay-marriage amendment, which voters affirmed in November banning gay marriage and the recognition of similar partnerships.
A key source for the narrow interpretation, of course, will be the proponents of the amendment:
The amendment’s author, Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, said in a previous interview with The Badger Herald that the ban does not necessarily prevent domestic partner benefits.

“If done correctly, the amendment would not preclude those benefits,” Gundrum said.

What did you expect?

17 comments:

corporate law drudge said...

"to preclude us from extending domestic partnership amendments"

benefits?

Ann Althouse said...

Whoops. Corrected. Glad to see you're up and proofreading at 5:25 AM (my time).

J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gerry said...

It sounds to me like the amendment is doing just what many conservative proponents of such amendments said was the goal-- take the matter out of the hands of over-eager judges and kick it back to the legislature, where it belongs.

If Wisconsin decides, through its legislature, to expand a benefits package offered through the state's University system, that's pretty much a matter for Wisconsinites and I say knock yourself out. Do as you see fit.

J said...

"The best way to retain faculty is to prevent them from wanting to leave, Pruitt added"

That's pretty much the only way isn't it?

I'm a little surprised UW doesn't already offer DP benefits and I wouldn't have any problem with them doing so. But I find the contention that not offering them damages the university a bit of a stretch.

Why on earth do faculty members oppose background checks on new employees?

Bissage said...

Ann Althouse asked: "What did you expect?"

Me? I expected to hear sweet music.

So much of advocacy is giving decision-makers cover to do what they’re inclined to do, anyway.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

dave said...

What did you expect?

An endorsement of bigotry from you. And as usual, you did not disappoint.

Gerry said...

Dave shows his usual lack of reading comprehension. The only question is if it will bait Ann into playing on his terms by defending herself in a manner which will portray those who do not share her views on this issue in the same way that Dave portrays her.

kimsch said...

I take it that the University system does not offer domestic partnership benefits now and has not in the past. Now that the marriage amendment has passed they are looking to offer benefits? Why now? I question the timing...

wv: svacwl

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry, yeah, good point. It's hard to see the courts striking it down. They'll be motivated -- for lots of reasons -- to go with the narrow interpretation.

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry: As for responding to dave, I can't even understand his latest dribble. Presumably, he's been reading this blog for a while. Not retaining much, though.

MadisonMan said...

As I recall, DP benefits are not now offered because some Repulicans in the Legislature had a hissy fit about them. So now that the Amendment has passed, it's all okay, though. Hmmm.

Of course, the Legislature is now much more Democratic, courtesy of the last election. And John Gard is gone. Yay!

rhodeymark1 said...

I would assume that most WI voters who approved the amendment would also yawn at the extension of benefits at UW. I also agree that it is odd that UW wasn't already doing that for years now. Had they been pleading this, or did they stand pat as a force for all-or-nothing marriage recognition (assuming it would pass)? Oh, and Dave - find a mirror. You'd still be a bigoted a-hole even if your entire wishlist were fulfilled. Maybe the voters met you.

Moklevat said...

kimsh: Wisconsin is the only University in the Big 10 that does not offer domestic partner benefits.

Moklevat said...

j: Whereas I can see the need for background checks to ensure that a childcare worker has no history of child abuse, what would be the purpose of background checks for faculty. Or more specifically, what problem would that particular policy solve?

Joe Baby said...

Am I nuts? (Don't answer that.)

The amendment does not appear to ban benefits, but does appear to ban "marriage-like" arrangements.

Hence, shouldn't the UW honchos get to work on a new benefit scheme, i.e. every employee gets one adult beneficiary?

hdhouse said...

Christopher Hitchens is a pantload.