Dear Editor,

In her column today Joelle Parks misstates the scope of the civil unions
ban.

Parks is right to say that existing law already bans gay marriage. She’s
also right to note that the first part of the amendment would put
current law into our constitution (taking the issue out of the hands of
our elected representatives). And she’s especially right that a “no”
vote would leave things exactly the way they are, changing absolutely
nothing.

But she is flat-out wrong to disregard the second part of the amendment,
which bans civil unions and–as the Regents note–seriously jeopardizes
UW’s ability ever to offer equal compensation to gay employees and their
families. In Ohio and Michigan, where similar bans passed two years ago,
anti-gay organizations are now suing public universities to prevent them
from providing gay and non-gay employees with equal benefits packages.

That’s why the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Council on
Children & Families urge a “no” vote. And it’s why just this week, the
Milwaukee Archdiocese Priests’ Alliance came out against the ban: in
their statement, the priests asked fellow Catholics to consider that
“the amendment may be construed to deny rights and services, including
health care.”

Contrary to Parks’ description, November’s vote is about way, way more
than gay marriage. It’s about whether we want our constitution to say
that long-term, committed couples should forever remain legal strangers.
I think that’s both unfair and profoundly unethical, and that’s why I’m
voting “no.”

Sincerely,

Travis Foster
Graduate Student, English