23 March 2005
Another great Lansing State Journal editorial on Proposal 2 and its ramifications...
Shameful: Cox's ruling on Proposal 2 affirms state's bigotry
Attorney General Mike Cox's ruling on the effects of Proposal 2 is a shameful commentary on life in Michigan.
But don't blame Cox. The attorney general and his staff just read the language of this mean-spirited constitutional amendment. It was clearly designed not to "protect" marriage, but to discriminate against whole classes of Michigan citizens.
For that, blame Prop 2 advocates and the 59 percent of voters they conned last fall, opening the door for the kind of onerous ruling such as the one Cox gave; the one that is legally binding on the state until the courts weigh in.
What voters really did with Prop 2 was say that their neighbors and friends and family members - who are hard-working, law-abiding people - are second-class citizens. They were saying that they don't deserve to have a retirement plan or health benefits if they work for the people of Michigan.
They were saying that they're not as good as the "rest of us."
All through the summer of 2004, it was pointed out - in this space and others - how the ballot language on Proposal 2 was designed to be confusing at the ballot box and specific in the law. Proponents wanted to ban any benefit for same-sex couples; but they didn't want to admit it.
Proposal 2 was never about "protecting" marriage. Michigan already has a law, which the LSJ supports, designating such. This amendment's targets were civil unions and domestic partner benefits that we support to treat gay couples and their children fairly.
Prop 2 advocates relied on confusion and obfuscation. They relied on citizens' desire to uphold marriage to advance their goal of discrimination.
Check that. They didn't rely on it; they fostered it.
Consider these comments during the campaign by Prop 2 supporters, culled from a Nov. 18 commentary in the Detroit News:
"This has nothing to do with taking benefits away. This is about marriage between a man and a woman."
"There's nothing in this amendment ... that will erase anything on the books."
"(T)he proposal will not affect benefits offered to people living together or in same-sex relationships."
Yet as Cox has noted, Proposal 2 does go beyond marriage. It does bar public agencies from extending benefits to same-sex couples. And it does bar benefits to opposite-sex couples who are not married.
Now, these folks will try to explain away their deceit by claiming that Prop 2 does not end any existing contracted benefits. Technically true, since, as Cox said, constitutional amendments are not usually retroactive.
But when contracts with these benefits expire, that's it. What existed before cannot be renewed.
That sure sounds like "taking benefits away."
And the utter shame of it falls on the majority of Michigan voters who should have known better.
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