Saturday, April 04, 2009

Weasles and their words.

This is old news, but the scab recently got ripped off for me because conservative politicians in Kalamazoo are up to their usual shenanigans.

One of my two hard core political positions is that: DOMAs are barbaric.

When I state my politics in public, most people ask what the hell a DOMA is. A DOMA is a Defense of Marriage Act, and a civil rights abomination. A DOMA is an attempt by religious and cultural conservatives to dictate to individuals what kind of personal contracts and living arrangements they can legally have. They are "special rights" for straight people. Several states have passed DOMAs in the last several years. Michigan is one of them, and I find that deeply embarrassing.

Now when Michigan passed it's DOMA in, what? 2005? I heard conservatives say dumb things like: I'm all for domestic partnerships. I just don't think it should be called "marriage."

I guess I should respect the good intentions behind opinions, but in execution they become weasel words. The people who campaign for and get DOMAs passed don't make that distinction between "marriage" and "domestic partnership". It's all sin to them.

So Michigan residents passed a DOMA anyway. Guess what? Social conservatives used it to interfere with people's private rights.

The case was brought to the Michigan Courts by the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious organization. So, of course, when conservatives state that they are not "against domestic partnerships", they are either uninformed or lying, because their privately funded organizations are using the laws to do exactly that.

From the article:

"Michigan law expressly prohibits marriage substitutes." He said public institutions may give health and other benefits to employees on an equal basis, as long as they are not "marriage-like."

The last phrase is of course, garble. What else is marriage like if not health or "other" benefits? It would be interesting to see an example. Maybe a same sex couple that is not cohabiting? Is that un-marriage like enough to provide health benefits for?

Equal rights groups in Kalamazoo are trying to pass a law banning discrimination. It even contains exemptions, "special rights", for religious individuals and organizations.

But conservatives often "forget" their devotion to liberty when it comes to their messy personal issues. When you let your messy personal issues interfere with public policy, that is bigotry. And groups like the Alliance Defense fund are not in it for the liberty, no matter how they sloganeer. They are using their religion to impose values on people who do not participate in those religions.

Michigan Court Voids "Domestic Partner Benefits"

February 07, 2007 by Mike White

The Ruling Applies to Unmarried Heterosexual and Homosexual Couples
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that public institutions are prohibited by the state constitution from extending marriage benefits or "domestic partner benefits" to unmarried couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual. The court ruled that the
Michigan Court Voids "Domestic Partner Benefits"
state constitutional amendment, which defines marriage as an institution between one man and one woman, prohibits the "domestic partner benefits."

Dale Schowengerdt, who had authored a friend-of-the-court brief on the case, along with attorney James Wierenga, said in an Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) press release that "all government programs should comply with state law, and the appeals court has correctly interpreted the state laws on marriage. Michigan law expressly prohibits marriage substitutes." He said public institutions may give health and other benefits to employees on an equal basis, as long as they are not "marriage-like." Schowengerdt and Wierenga are both ADF attorneys and were working for the Christian legal agency on the case.

The brief had been filed in January 2006. It pointed out that the state constitution protected marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The brief also pointed out that the constitution protected marriage benefits as well, as benefits between one man and one woman. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the state of Michigan, demanding benefits for "domestic partnerships," including same sex couples.

Michigan's "marriage protection amendment" was approved by state voters in 2004. It reads in part, "To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage should be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose."

Schowengerdt said Michigan voters "made their intentions clear" by passing an amendment that marriage "from all counterfeits." He said that "contrary to the ACLU," the amendment declares what marriage is and is not.