Sunday, March 18, 2007

The nastiness of HJR 9: "no other union"

Now, this is interesting. House Joint Resolution 9, sponsored/authored by Representatives John Coghill Jr., John Harris, Vic Kohring, Peggy Wilson, Bob Lynn, Carl Gatto, Nancy Dahlstrom, Mike Kelly, Mark Neuman, Bill Thomas Jr., and Bill Stoltze and introduced to the Alaska legislature February 12, 2007, would not just mean that employee benefits would be denied to gay couples and common-law (heterosexual) married couples by the state and any dependent organizations (such as cities, boroughs, universities), it would also prevent creation of civil unions as an alternative to marriage: "the only union that shall be valid or recognized in this state".

The text of this bill does not match the advisory vote question (which asks that the legislature do a pretty crappy, mean-spirited thing), and instead does an even more crappy, mean-spirited thing--so the vote (or the bill) is deceptive. Here's the text of the bill:
Section 25. Marriage and related limitations. To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. 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.
This is EXACTLY THE SAME TEXT as was placed before the legislature last year, and was resoundingly rejected by the public in hearings across the state.

And again, like last year, this text says nothing about being limited to state entities: this would apply across the board, to privately held entities like businesses, for example. Why? because it is an AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION! and it doesn't say that it applies only to public employees, or public benefits. Nope, this is a general amendment, written to discriminate generally. Even the League of Women Voters doesn't like it, due to the deception involved in the advisory vote language vs. the bill above, and the bass-ackwards procedure. They are recommending voting NO.

Me, too. I can't wait to see the first lawsuit brought by a business against the state for proscribing giving same-sex partners the benefits that opposite-sex partners get, if this stupidity passes.

And again, we have the same problem as before (since it's exactly the same text as before): this will mean that the Alaska constitution will cease to be about limiting the powers of the government, and become about limiting the rights and powers of the people in the form of social policy dictation. Top down, state to borough, state to city, state to private entity.

Coghill dissembles when he claims that the
Supreme Court has ordered Alaskans to pay for a benefit that the majority of people disagree with philosophically. Once the state requires same-sex benefits for partners of state employees, it is only a few more legal steps until private businesses are forced to provide the same benefits lest they “discriminate.”
The bill he has sponsored would require that businesses be denied the option of offering same-sex partners benefits. It requires that cities be denied that option. He says that the majority of people disagree with employee benefits for same-sex couples, but where's the poll? That would have been a much cheaper option, and more accurate (if done properly, by a reputable outfit that doesn't do push polls). No, instead, he wants this expensive and deceptive advisory vote, and it looks like he wants it to mask the amendment he's already sponsored that was REJECTED by the public the LAST time he did this.

1 comment:

CabinDweller said...

Great Jeebus! I missed this one.

I don't get the obsession of the anti-gay crowd with 2 things:

1) gay sex. enough said.
2) equivalency. (is that a word?) the whole snit about 'your relationship is not equal to mine.' ; their insistence that a relationship between a man and woman and that legal scrap of paper (license) be written into LAW as the unique and superior to any other.

Seriously, the Lege has better things to do. Alaska has much bigger issues and concerns to deal with - instead we get this.