Friday, March 10, 2006

Can't have employers offering benefits to their employees, nossirree

Babblemur makes an extremely important point about a constitutional amendment in another state against civil unions and domestic partnerships. Wisconsin State Representative Gregg Underheim (a Republican) spoke on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus about this, and Babblemur was there:
Most people speak about the amendment from an emotional point of view, myself included. Opponents argue that it is discriminatory and an issue of human rights. Proponents argue that it is about defending family values. The jist of Underheim’s position against the Amendment was rational, and basically Constitutional. He spoke of what he saw the role of constitutions to be: structure, process, and protection. Constitutions are designed to define the structure of government, the process whereby government operates, and the protections people are given against government. Constitutions limit the rights and power of government, not people.

“This Amendment would cross a dangerous line,” he said. “It would change for the first time the very nature of constitutions.” He stated that once ’social policy’ is put in a constitutional context it both changes the nature of the constitution, and changes the role of elected representatives. “People elect their representatives, who pass legislation that defines social policy. If the people don’t like the way their representatives vote, they send someone else. Once social policy is written into the Constitution, that crosses a dangerous line.” He said. “Once one person or group is denied rights in the constitution, you set a precedent. Where will it stop? Which group of people might be denied rights next?”

At least Wisconsin has a few sane Republicans in their legislature.

Another very significant point about our own cute little discriminatory amendment proposal here in Alaska was made March 9 by Jeanne Laurencelle in a letter to the editor (of the News-Miner:
the newest constitutional amendment is designed to prevent employers from offering the compensation packages they want to offer. That's right, they want to legislate compensation! Unlike other laws which are set up to protect employees, this one is all about bashing employees.

So: employers can't be allowed to give benefits packages that should only be for properly married people (in the Wacko Religious Right's opinion) to anybody else, like (gasp!) heterosexual couples living in sin! or (GASP!) homosexual couples! Shame on those employers! shame! shame! We'll make all those job benefits criminal!

"No other union is similarly situated to a marriage between a man and a woman and therefore, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only union that shall be valid or recognized in this State and to which the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage shall be extended or assigned." [emphasis added]

Dear, dear, dear. What mean-spirited times we live in.

1 comment:

Intrepid Liberal Journal said...

I admire Underheim's rational approach. Tough to do with an issue so emotionally charged.