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This is why the WI hate amendment cannot pass

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eyesroll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:25 PM
Original message
This is why the WI hate amendment cannot pass
Here in WI, a constitutional amendment not only banning same-sex marriage but also civil unions, domestic partnerships or anything else that confers benefits/responsibilities resembling marriage to same-sex couples has already passed one legislative session (it needs to pass again in '05 and then pass a ballot measure).

But, anyway.
A co-worker of mine ("Joe") has been out of the office the last few days. I found out why today, when he came back for a few hours to catch up.

Last week, Joe's partner ("Bob") got kidnapped at a gas station. He was threatened with a gun, and forced to drive the kidnappers to a house nearby. He was thrown in the basement and badly beaten. Bob finally managed to escape when they tried to drive him to an ATM so they could rob him of however much the ATM would let him withdraw.

Joe found out when the ER called him. He, of course, wasn't told anything other than "Bob's in the hospital, got car-jacked, not dead," drove frantically the whole way and was allowed in to visit. Since then, he's been at home helping Bob recover (he's doing well physically, thank god, and he's getting counseling; the kidnappers have been caught, and the car recovered. It could have come out a whole lot worse).

The hospital only was able to call Joe because Bob was conscious and gave instructions. If he was unconscious, who knows who they might have called? Perhaps they might have gotten Joe randomly, by calling home or by dialing the last number called on Bob's cell phone. Perhaps not. Perhaps Joe only would have found out when they tracked down Bob's out-of-state parents. Or later, by calling police stations and hospitals, wondering why Bob never came home (and even that would have been a crap shoot, since medical-privacy laws might keep hospitals from releasing patient names).

The hospital technically didn't have to allow Joe in to visit, but they did. (They are not married, and the city where they live doesn't have DP registration, but they do co-own a house and are each other's legal next of kin/powers of attorney/etc.)

I work for a decent company, and they gave Joe the time off without question. Legally, they didn't have to -- not even without pay. (FMLA doesn't apply to same-sex partners.)

If Bob had been killed -- and he came perilously close -- Joe would have been able to go to the funeral, and take some bereavement leave, because my company is run by decent people.

And, right now, there are many companies that would deny Joe the time off, and many hospitals that wouldn't let Joe visit. (Might I add that Joe and Bob have been together for most of their adult lives -- and they're in their mid-30s?) Companies have the legal right to say, "too bad -- funeral leave for family only -- show up or you're fired."

If the Wisconsin Hate Amendment passes, it will only get worse. People who work for the state, for instance, will as a matter of fact not be granted leave to care for their partner -- because the amendment prohibits any of the benefits of marriage. People who work for the University system and receive DP benefits -- including leave -- will likely have them revoked, because the amendment prohibits that.

I fear such an amendment will create a climate in which companies will feel more empowered to deny these basic things -- since it's written in the constitution that same-sex couples aren't worthy of anything, why should we bother treating them with compassion?

Joe and especially Bob have been through way too much this week. I'm glad, at least, they have decent employers (both of them), a supportive family (both of them) and a compassionate ER staff. I can't imagine how much more horrifying it would be if the law got in the way.
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Doyle is
the last line of defense!

Talking to my Assembly person and State Senator.

Thanks...I didn't realize it had moved so far.
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GOPisEvil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. Can't people read the damned 14th Amendment?
Equal protection under the law. It's not that difficult. Sigh...

I can't stand seeing people treated as second class citizens. The fact that this legislation moved beyond the paranoid fantasies of a legislator's mind is frightening.
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