Glenn, AFA charge EMU’s DP benefits policy violates state constitution

By |2018-01-16T06:35:22-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

YPSILANTI – He’s up to his old tricks again. Anti-gay extremist Gary Glenn is calling upon Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and House Higher Education Career Preparation Committee Chairman Rep. Lorence Wenke (R-Kalamazoo) to investigate the domestic partnership benefits package offered by Eastern Michigan University. Glenn says the plan, which includes a 50 percent tuition discount for domestic partners of university employees, is in violation of Michigan’s newly amended state constitution which reserves the rights of marriage for heterosexual couples.
In a release circulated to the press, Glenn acknowledged that Wenke was one of only three Republican representatives to vote against the marriage amendment when it came before the state house last year. Glenn urged Wenke “nonetheless to honor, uphold, and protect the constitutional policy that voters in your district and statewide overwhelmingly approved.”
Administrators at EMU are not, he said, “above the law or exempt from the principles enshrined by vote of the people in our state constitution. The people of Michigan have spoken, and your personal views aside, we urge you to fulfill your duties as Higher Education Committee chairman to ensure that higher education officials do not use taxpayers’ money to violate our constitution. … By vote of the people of Michigan, our state government — and that includes state university officials — are required to recognize marriage as being only between one man and one woman.”
Taking it a step further, Glenn said EMU’s policy “recklessly validates, encourages, even uses our tax dollars to financially subsidize and reward unhealthy, self-destructive homosexual behavior. … What’s particularly galling to many taxpayers is that by giving students involved in homosexual behavior half off their tuition, EMU officials force taxpayers and other students to make up the difference and thereby subsidize behavior they sincerely believe is wrong.”
Galled as Glenn and his cohorts may be, such frustration does not excuse such an obvious ignorance of the law. Jay Kaplan of the ACLU’s LGBT Project said such a tactic is “nothing new for Gary Glenn. Ever since the election he’s saying that colleges and state universities can’t offer domestic partnership benefits. But he’s wrong. Offering domestic partnership benefits, offering some similar benefits to same-sex partners of the employees of Eastern Michigan University is not tantamount to marriage. There’s a big difference. Marriage comes with over a 1,000 federally sanctioned benefits. There’s no way you can say this is the same as marriage and certainly a legal marriage does not entitle the spouse to any of these things. That’s up to an employer.”
Kaplan said that not only is Glenn’s ploy old hat, it’s also far from clever.
“He’s being very disingenuous because this is the same man who during the election said that he didn’t think that [Proposal 2 would jeopardize] domestic partnership benefits,” said Kaplan. “He’s being very hypocritical. He talks about the majority has spoken, but the majority of the voters were told repeatedly that this had nothing to do with domestic partnership benefits, that it was solely focused on marriage.”
The Triangle Foundation, which has been monitoring Glenn’s one-man campaign of intolerance for years, agrees with both Kaplan’s legal analysis and his interpretation of Glenn’s intent.
“Once again Gary Glenn is trying to stir up trouble over nothing,” said Sean Kosofsky, Triangle’s director of policy. “Universities have complete control over their admission policies and I think it’s just another desperate act of self-promotion.”
Officials at EMU must sense that desperation, and they appear not to have been swayed.
EMU Interim President Craig Dean Willis told the university newspaper, The Eastern Echo, that he’s in the process of sending Glenn a cease and desist letter and accused him of inaccurately representing EMU’s policy. Meanwhile, Howard Bunsis, director of EMU’s American Association of University Professors chapter, called the university’s DP benefits “an important component of our contract here.”
Bunsis assured The Echo that any effort to dismantle the benefits package would be challenged.
“If Eastern Michigan University’s benefits are being questioned by an outside party, we will also vigorously defend them,” he said.
For now, Kaplan is not concerned about any such legal action.
“Cases in court that have looked at this issue have uniformly found that providing domestic partnership benefits is not the same as marriage,” he said. “There is not one court ruling that I’m aware of that has said that providing domestic partnership benefits creates a marital relationship.”
So could the allegedly God-fearing Glenn actually be breaking a commandment and spreading an untruth?
“It’s no surprise that anti-gay extremists will lie in order to win,” said Kosofsky. “What constantly amazes me is that these people will call themselves pro-family while working against health insurance, a college degree. Things that help folks become better people – they don’t want gays to have any access to that. They’re not pro-family at all and they need to stop identifying as that. They’re a hate group, period.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.