Partner coverage is not a religious issue

Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I would like to respond to Mr. Westad's letter concerning domestic partnership benefits as passed by the Juneau Assembly. The city of Juneau, or any other, is a government institution and not a religious institution. The U.S. Constitution separates the two entities. One makes civil law and the other makes religious law. The issue of domestic partner benefits is a civil law with civil rights implications. Why should one person that can legally be married have a compensation package that is better or more expensive than someone that either can't legally get married or chooses not to? That married person is thus getting paid more for the job than those that are not married. Mr. Westad assumed that domestic partnerships are for homosexuals. That is not always the case - the strongest supporters of these laws are senior citizens, many of whom would lose money if they were to get married.

Mr. Westad accused supporters of the law of picking and choosing what Biblical issues to follow and which not to. There is a major problem with that. The "Religious Right," which is neither, does exactly that. I would like to bring up some examples of that hypocrisy. They come from an open letter to Dr. Laura that was posted on the Internet. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a U.S. radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call her radio show. She has stated that as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

1. "I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?"

2. "I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?"

3. "I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?"

4. "Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including their hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?"

There are many more examples, but I think that I have made my point. You have to look at the history of the Bible and follow the whole story, not pick out what makes your point. If you really know the Bible, you know that Jesus did not speak on the issue at all. If it was so important, why not?

Now, so you do not think that I am just someone from the land of fruits and nuts of California: I grew up in Juneau and lived there until I was 17.

Michael Jones

Long Beach, Calif.

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