Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The State Senate's Attempt to Thwart Benefits for Domestic Partners

Okay, when the nefarious Rocky Andersen pushed the "domestic partners benefits" idea I viewed it as a proverbial "F#@* off" after Utah passed Amendment 3. However, I'm not so sure that the right is right in this matter either. The 1930's throwback Chris Buttars and a cast of bloated social conservatives are pushing to stop a SLC registry to help domestic partners qualify for health benefits. The Right's argument against the registry is that it is in opposition to the states ban on gay marriage, and that as Buttars says "This is nothing but an open checkbook ... (the) 'repugnant' registry attempts to define a class, and therefore, it don't fit." he went on to say, "Some people may disagree with me, but since America was born, marriage is the cornerstone." While I agree that marriage is a critical cornerstone in our society, I cannot accept that idea that monogamous individuals, in a fully committed relationship, cannot enjoy any legal rights of their commitment.

The simplest (and to me the most logical) way to solve this issue is to provide a contractual remedy to these individuals -- i.e. civil unions, or some other binding contractual agreement (I have a hard time with the semantics of calling gay unions as marriage) Individuals would have contractual obligations to one another, and they also could enjoy legal benefits of their union. However, we here in Utah said no to that idea based on true religious and moral objections (I regrettably voted for Amendment 3 for those very reasons). However, this has left those members of the population who are in committed but (for the purposes of Amendment 3) unaccepted committed relationships in a position of inequality with the straight unforgiving majority of this state. For this purpose, SLC's move to provide benefits between domestic partners is somewhat commendable. (To me, the term "domestic partners" is perhaps a bit too broad and might ultimately be too costly. The term domestic partners leaves me to wonder how many straight same-sex roommates will adopt a "Chuck & Larry" approach to benefits in SLC, not to mention the undue expense of allowing uncommitted same-sex couples the same benefits of married individuals. A hetero-sexual couple isn't willing to marry, than they shouldn't be accorded the benefits of those who are in marriages.)

I think the Senate (and more appropriately the Senator from WJ) should butt-out. If there should be any objection the city's domestic partner benefit plan, it should be due the over broad inclusion of all domestic partners -- although we all know the plan would stand no chance if it were in behalf of HOMOSEXUALS IN COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS exclusively.

The problem here in Utah is there should be a difference between religion and government. While I view homosexuality as a repugnant sin, I don't accept the idea that these individuals should be treated as unequal according to the law. Marriage should not be broken open to allow gay unions, but some sort of legal binding arrangement needs to introduced as an equalizer for Gay and Lesbian community.

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