Amendment backers set sights on DP benefits

By | 2018-01-16T08:42:11-04:00 April 11th, 2012|Uncategorized|

FARMINGTON – Anti-gay backers of Proposal 2, the so-called marriage amendment to Michigan’s constitution, are setting their sights on domestic partner benefits offered by public institutions, according to articles appearing in the Nov. 4 and Nov. 7, 2004 issues of the Lansing State Journal.
The Nov. 7 article quotes Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, as saying, “Benefits only to homosexuals are a formal recognition of a homosexual relationship as equal or similar to marriage. And the voters have said they don’t want that.”
The Lansing State Journal reported that, according to Glenn, institutions must offer domestic partner benefits, such as bereavement leave and health insurance, to all people a public employee shares his or her household with, including siblings, parents, and grandparents. Glenn told the Lansing State Journal, “Benefits cannot be given on the basis of singling out homosexual relationships for special treatment.”
According to the Lansing State Journal, Glenn is reviewing the benefit policies of public institutions in Michigan and turning them over to Attorney General Mike Cox. In the Nov. 7 article, Glenn said that the AFA would not be filing a lawsuit, but is encouraging others to do so.
Proponents insisted throughout the campaign that Proposal 2’s intent was to simply define marriage as between one man and one woman. Opponents of Proposal 2, however, pointed to its broad language, specifically the phrase, “or similar union for any purpose” as indicative of a much wider reach and intent.
Glenn himself stated that the Proposal was aimed at civil unions and domestic partner benefits at a June 23, 2004 forum about the amendment that took place in Saginaw.
At that forum, Mindy Pennington, a panelist at the forum and Coalition for a Fair Michigan member, responded to a question about the impact of the amendment on domestic partnership benefits. Pennington said that if passed, the amendment would permanently prohibit government entities, such as state universities and local governments, from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees, and would remove any such benefits that these entities already offer. At that time, Glenn, also a panelist, said he and the AFA agreed with that assessment.
Glenn then appeared to pull back from that position. He and other proponents, including Marlene Elwell of the Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, insisted the allegation of a threat to domestic partner benefits was unfounded.
However, in the Nov. 4 Lansing State Journal article, Glenn blamed the confusion about the amendment’s scope on the media, claiming they did not understand the proposal.

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