Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meekhof Wants to Take Away Health Benefits, Says GVSU "Promotes Immorality

Since the "Tasers for Children" idea was a bust, Arlan Meekhof (R-Dark Ages) has turned back to the tried and true consevative values charade of protecting the world from all those immoral people who want health benefits. Grand Valley State University recently joined the U of M, MSU, Central, Northern, Eastern, and Saginaw Valley universities, as well as the City of Kalamazoo, in broadening the scope of their benefit policies in an attempt to attract and retain talented employees in light of competition from the enlightened world where people are free to live their lives as they see fit. That has Arlan hopping mad.

The best and the brightest be damned; you are all living in sin!, and we will just see what Mike Cox has to say about this. As if you didn't know already.

State Representative Arlan Meekhof called the plan "A slap in the face to Michigan taxpayers and morality."

The benefits will apply to gay partners and other live-in partners who are unrelated adults.

In attacking the school's board of trustees Meekhof released the following statement, "Not only are they increasing the university's expenses, but this institute of higher learning has chosen to use taxpayer dollars and student tuition dollars to allow and promote immorality."

Meekhof says he will request a legal opinion on the plan from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.

Arlan has no problem using "taxpayer dollars" in an attempt to impose his idea of morality on Grand Valley and other institutions. How dare they "allow" people to live together. Last time we checked that wasn't against the law, but if Arlan had his way, it probably would be. Meekhof's angst is directed at gay people even though he doesn't come right out and say it, but his reach is now extending into the lives of others he has deemed "immoral" as well by trying to deny their children health care.

The change also reflects demographics, with 51 percent of U.S. households headed by unmarried parents, said David Smith, director of benefits and human resources.

"It's really about recruiting and retention. We compete with other public universities that offer similar benefits," said Scott Richardson, GVSU's associate vice president for human resources. "We want (the best) to pick us."

The vote by the board at Grand Valley was 7-1, and the "nay" came from Chairwoman Lucille Taylor, wife of Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Cliff Taylor. She offered up some lame excuses and tried to obfuscate the issue. Didn't work, but she gets a cookie from the radicals that control the Republicans in this state for towing the party line.

Let's take a quick look at Meekhof's "values" and the scenarios he would deem immoral. The following cases were cited in a brief before our Supreme Court - people who needed the health care that Arlan seeks to deny.

A brief filed by a group of Michigan public universities details the role that domestic partner benefits play in recruiting and retaining faculty members. The brief also included specific cases where such benefits played a major role in helping a couple. For example, an assistant professor’s partner had a near fatal heart attack and the “life-saving, ongoing treatment” that led to his recovery would not have been possible without coverage under the university’s plan. In another case, the benefits allow the partner of an employee to stay at home and care for the two young children of the employee and parter. One of the children was born with a birth defect and can’t be in day care. In addition, the brief noted that passage of the gay marriage ban had led some professors to take jobs elsewhere, viewing the measure as a sign of hostility.

The American Association of University Professors argued in its brief that the ban on partner benefits also amounted to inappropriate state intrusion in the autonomy of universities.

Meekhof is OK with state intrusion into your life when it comes to enforcing his version of morality. He also would raise your insurance rates and taxes by forcing these people to seek care through uncovered emergency room measures, which would in turn be passed on to you through premiums or higher demands on taxpayer funded medical services. He also would deny economic growth to Michigan by forcing the creative class to leave the state in search of a place where they are accepted.

That is Meekhof's version of "values" - government mandates on morals, higher costs on essentials as a consequence, and impedeing Michigan's universities and cities the chance to compete with the rest of the country because he wants to stubbornly cling to an extremist agenda. In other words, he is the typical face of the Michigan Republican Party as it stands today; insisting on moving backward in a world that is already moving on without us.