Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mass. Family Institute & VoteOnMarriage Advocate "New Rights"

The Mass. Family Institute (MFI),, and Governor Romney today unveiled their inexplicable "Benefits Fairness" bill. It would "ensur[e] new rights, benefits and protections for adults ineligible for marriage" (their words in quotes). They first promised this bill when promoting their new marriage amendment last June.

The queer activists and MassResistance would agree that this is not a consistent plan: After allowing "marriage" to one group of homosexual couples, later offering only a "benefits" sop to homosexuals will be seen as second-class treatment, a withdrawal of a "right". Homosexuals either are or aren't equal in terms of "domestic" rights. There's no in-between. And if they are equal, why not let them "marry"?

And what, please, does "NEW RIGHTS" mean? We thought true rights were God-given, and that we simply figure out how to define and codify them. We don't make up "NEW RIGHTS"! (Though we may rectify improper denial of true rights, as in the abolition of slavery.) MassResistance first addressed this problem back in September 2005.

Our reaction to this bill is that it's disingenuous. While it's really all about special "rights" for homosexuals, our would-be allies are pretending it's about generic "rights" -- including for mythical groups that have never stormed the State House demanding their "rights". Has there ever been a march by non-next-of-kin groups ("interdependent mutually supportive relationships who are ineligible for marriage but who nevertheless would benefit from a status similar to next-of-kin status") -- other than queer activists?

From MFI's press release (Jan. 11, 2006):

"Newton Upper Falls, MA - - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today announced, along with a bi-partisan group of state legislators, the filing of the Benefits Fairness Act.

"The Benefits Fairness Act would ensure that citizens in the Commonwealth who are ineligible for marriage are afforded necessary rights, protections, and benefits not currently provided for under Massachusetts law.

"Specifically the Act entitles two Massachusetts adults who are ineligible for marriage to enter into a legal arrangement which provides for reciprocal hospital visitation, health care proxy designation, after-death decisions, inheritance and estate designation, and mental health decisions. The legislation also enables employers to include this new designation in their life, health and other benefits programs."

(See the complete MFI press release, and details on the bill.)

So, just as MFI-VoteOnMarriage did in their new proposed "protection of marriage" amendment (which lets existing homosexual "marriages" stand), they're again trying to placate the queer activists. But the very act of addressing this group implies an acquiescence to their demands for special "rights" -- when such demands aren't worthy of any response at all! This bill legitimizes homosexuality as a basis for a domestic relationships sanctioned by the state.

"The Act is strongly endorsed by and the allied organizations that seek to define marriage in Massachusetts as the exclusive union of one man and one woman."

[...Except for those homosexual "marriages" solemnized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts between May 17, 2004 and the date their amendment should take effect...]

" 'Do we have compassion for the needs of people? Absolutely! However the natural marriage relationship as it has been defined for millennia is fundamental, distinct and unique,' [except for that period between 5/17/04 and the amendment taking effect] said Kris Mineau, spokesman, and president, Massachusetts Family Institute."

MassResistance does feel a little bad. We've gone back on our promise not to bring up our disagreement with the amendment again. But this benefits bill was just too much for us!