Remember how I was telling you a little while ago that an amendment was added to an education spending bill by Republicans in the Michigan House that would penalize universities that offer benefits to the domestic partners of their employees? Well, the folks at MoveOn have taken notice, and they’ve begun organizing, in hopes of derailing the amendment in the Michigan Senate. Following is the email they’ve begun circulating. Please share it with your friends.
The Michigan House Republicans recently approved an amendment to the House bill on education funding written by Rep. David Agema. The amendment proposes that the state subtract 5 percent from the state funding of any university that offers health insurance coverage for employees who live with another adult outside of marriage.
During a time where public education operates under increasingly difficult financial constraints, ideologically driven legislations have even less of a place in educational policy than ever. The amendment violates the autonomy of public universities and is thus a direct attack on academic freedom.
Moreover, the amendment’s clear intent to divide the academic community is deeply immoral. Targeting unmarried couples, and by intent particularly gay and lesbian families, at a time where every public poll shows significant majority support for civil unions flies in the face of the country’s commitment to equality. Americans, as a rule, do not want the government to tell them how to conduct their private lives.
Middle-class families already suffer from the rising cost of college tuition. If the amendment passes, the loss of funds may well contribute to an even steeper rise, thus penalizing all Michigan families in the interest of an obsolete sexual morality Americans have rejected resoundingly.
The bill still needs to be reconciled with the Senate version, and we still have a chance to stop this nasty piece of legislation. That’s why I created a petition to the Michigan State House, the Michigan State Senate and Governor Rick Snyder, which says:
“David Agema’s amendment penalizing universities over same-sex benefits violates the universities’ budgetary autonomy, interferes with their academic freedom, and penalizes all unmarried couples, particularly those who are not allowed to marry in the first place. Any further cuts in state funding will directly harm Michigan students and their families. Please ensure that the reconciliation process eliminates this hate-driven legislation.”
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends.
And let’s not forget that this is only the most egregious part of terrible piece of legislation that would see public education further defunded across our state at every level, as our spending on incarceration grows. And, even more shameful, these proposed Republican cuts to public education are taking place at a time when Michigan’s tax revenues are actually increasing… Is this really how we want to “reinvent” Michigan? Do we want to live in a state where public education is less a priority than incarceration? Do we want to live in a state where our great institutions of higher learning are coerced into singling out their gay employees for punitive treatment? Is this the new Michigan we thought that we were getting when we chose to elect Rick Snyder?