Friday, July 15, 2005

True Lies

An interesting bit from Len Munsil, the president of CAP, about how those of us opposed to the "Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment" are using "false arguments" against the amendment. I couldn't disagree more. Every single one of these arguments he addresses is not only true, but likely to happen.

Looking at them one by one:

Remember first that the amendment simply reserves the special status of marriage in our laws to people who are actually married.

This makes it sound like the amendment is very basic, but it is not. The wording is vague and far-reaching and the "special status of marriage in our laws" numbers many, many things. The implications are HUGE and not simple at all.

It does not prevent people from agreeing to allow each other hospital visitation, inheritance rights, medical decisionmaking, or other benefits.

Hospital visitation and medical decision making in many cases are reserved for "next of kin" and while same-sex couples can write up legal contracts (costing hundreds or thousands of dollars) to give each other power of attorney or ensure visitation, these can be challenged by the legal "next of kin," who are often parents who are against the union. In places like Tucson where a Domestic Partnership registry exists, this extends legal protection to things like hospital visitation so that it cannot be so easily challenged. Inheritance rights similarly can be challenged by "next of kin." Also, lets look at the wording of part of the amendment:


Every single one of the expensive contracts same-sex couples draw up to protect themselves and their families could easily be challenged in court as a "legal status for unmarried persons...similar to that of marriage."

As for "other benefits," the list is long and varied as to what "other benefits" marriage provides that people cannot get if domestic partnerships are not recognized. They run the gamut from things like not being able to pay the family rate at city parks and rec to not being able to get bereavement or family medical leave when a partner has died or is ill and needs care. Health insurance for domestic partners of government employees like Pima County or school districts is also huge. For example, Tucson Unified School District currently offers health care benefits for domestic partners. This will absolutely be illegal if the amendment passes. How can it possibly be a lie to say that this amendment won't take away "other benefits" from people?

It does not prevent people from providing for each other in their last will and testament.

No, but it gives huge legal backing for family members who want to challenge wills. Again, the amendment is very vaguely worded. This could also easily fall under the nebulous "legal status for unmarried persons...similar to that of marriage."

It does not prevent the government from enforcing domestic violence laws against domestic partners who become violent.

This is Happening. Now. In Ohio. Are we supposed to take Munsil's word that this won't happen here when it is happening elsewhere because of a very similar amendment?

It does not prevent private businesses from providing benefits to whoever (sic) the business wants to provide with benefits.

No, but it could potentially scare private businesses into not providing domestic partnership benefits.

As the debate continues, remember that much of the rhetoric you will hear from opponents is pure politics, scare tactics and fiction.

Unlike the rhetoric from CAP which is never pure politics, scare tactics, or pure fiction.

It's easy for Len Munsil to say the opposition is lying, but he doesn't back up a single one of his statements. Not one. He says definitively the amendment "does not do" these things. Some of these things the amendment definitely WILL do, like take away "other benefits" and provide a good basis for legal challenge to domestic violence laws applying to non-married partners ala Ohio, so who's the real liar? Others it MAY do and not only is it impossible for Munsil to guarantee it won't but he doesn't even bother to back up why he thinks it won't.

Don't believe the CAP rhetoric. This amendment will hurt people in Arizona if it passes.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger Jess said...

Excellent post. I was happy to see Len Munsil's "grassroots movement" lose some steam, when he said that his initiative needs "hundreds" of signatures per day to get on the 2006 ballot. His recent bald-faced lies are a show of weakness. If we get the word out, I don't think there's enough ignorant Arizonans to sign his proposal. At least that's my hope.
Something that may be a good idea to confront Len's insistence that the anti-CAPpers are "lying" would be to create a resource online showing legal decisions (like the one you've already got linked) and personal accounts showing that vague "pro-marriage" measures actually do take away insurance, hospital visitation, and will rights. I think that Cathy Busha could re-contact some of the folks that gave advice on how to run the campaign and ask them about legal fallout, etc. --Adam S.


Post a Comment

<< Home