A conservative columnist, Calvin Freiburger, recently took on Wisconsin’s Domestic Partnership legislation in what he claims is a “reasoned argument” against the legislation (which is available not only to gay couples, but straight couples as well).
In his article, Mr. Freiburger makes many observations, including that the 30 day of living together requirement to qualify for Domestic Partnership benefits is “scant.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Freiburger apparently has not reviewed what is required in Wisconsin to obtain a “marriage license,” including the facts that: (a) once applied for, the license only has a 6 day waiting period before being effective; and (b) that only one person need reside in Wisconsin for at least 30 days. Thus, the “scant” requirement to obtain Domestic Partnership benefits in Wisconsin far exceeds the requirements to obtain a marriage license and more benefits than provided by the Domestic Partnership laws.
Speaking of benefits, Mr. Freiburger also makes this claim:
Many of the so-called rights gay couples are allegedly denied, such as hospital visitation and power-of-attorney related issues, are either already available to gays, easily achievable without creating new government relationship statuses, or were created to aid couples raising children on just one parent’s income, and are thus irrelevant to gay couples as well as to dual-income straight couples. [emphasis added] || State’s same-sex partnership law violates ban on gay marriage | fdlreporter.com | Fond du Lac Reporter
Apparently, Mr. Freiburger neglected to review Wisconsin law at all prior to formulating an opinion as inaccurate as the above. Wisconsin’s anti-marriage amendment includes a ban on any relationship between same-sex couples that is “similar to” marriage. Thus, when the initiative was placed on the ballot, the Attorney General of Wisconsin included this note:
A ‘yes’ vote [for the marriage ban] would also prohibit recognition of any legal status which is identical or substantially similar to marriage for unmarried persons of either the same sex or different sexes. The constitution would not further specify what is, or what is not, a legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage. Whether any particular type of domestic relationship, partnership or agreement between unmarried persons would be prohibited by this amendment would be left to further legislative or judicial determination.
It can be argued that powers of attorney, wills and other such documents between same-sex couples create a relationship “similar to marriage” and thus would be invalid in Wisconsin (along with other states such as Texas that have included the “similar to” language).
What Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research fails to mention, acknowledge or otherwise contemplate is that same-sex couples wishing to provide these benefits to their spouses through wills and powers of attorney not only pay far in excess of the average $80.00 fee for such services, but may not reap the benefits of the documents.
Perhaps the worst thing Mr. Didn’t-Really-Do-Any-Research said in his so-called article was this:
…one principle should never be up for debate in a constitutional republic like America: the rule of law.
Well, the rule of law is always up for debate – particularly when the law violates other laws, like”equal protection clauses of the primary source, The United States Constitution. It’s clear our disgruntled conservative friend armed himself, not with fact, but opinion. As jaysays.com contributor, Jude, would say, “The only things that must be straight are your facts.”
NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.