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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004, more than 20 states rushed to pass constitutional amendments barring the practice. Backers said their initiatives would have no impact beyond marriage. In particular, they disputed the argument that these measures would prevent state and local governments from offering benefits to same-sex partners. As one supporter of Michigan's 2004 initiative told USA TODAY, "This has nothing to do with taking benefits away. This is about marriage between a man and a woman."
Skip forward to 2007. Apparently it does have something to do with taking benefits away. In February, a Michigan court ruled that the state's amendment bars public employers from offering health coverage and other benefits to unmarried partners, gay or straight.
Similar moves to revoke domestic-partner benefits are afoot in other states. Kentucky's attorney general recently decided that the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville could not offer such benefits. A lawsuit is pending in Ohio over Miami University's benefits.
These developments expose the disingenuous arguments that surrounded many of the ballot measures. They also underscore the usefulness of civil unions as a middle ground in states that want to reserve the unique status of marriage for heterosexual couples. Civil unions don't carry the religious and cultural significance of traditional marriage, but they can protect gay couples from those who would use marriage laws to deny them benefits.
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