Matthew Shepard visiting California's Alcatraz prison in January of 1998
Last Thursday the Michigan House of Representatives approved an amendment to the education budget that penalizes state universities and colleges five percent for offering domestic partner benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners. And Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed suit yesterday to block the state Civil Service Commission from providing domestic partner benefits to state employees. Republicans – who control both chambers of the state legislature, the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office, the secretary of state and the state Supreme Court – cite cost as the reason for their opposition.
I bet the liars’ pants are really ablaze.
The domestic partner benefits proposal is expected to cost $6 million; Michigan’s budget for fiscal year 2011 exceeds $8 billion.
Most of Governor Rick Snyder's top leaders and advisors are being paid more than their counterparts under his predecessor. Agriculture and Rural Affairs director Keith Creagh and Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant are being paid $5,000 more than their predecessors. Transportation director Kirk Steudle got a $5,000 raise. Snyder’s state budget director, John Nixon, is being paid $250,000 – a whopping $114,748 increase over what his predecessor earned.
The highest earner in the Executive Office is chief of staff Dennis Muchmore at $171,000. Senior Advisor Dick Posthumus is paid $170,000. Deputy chief of staff Jeff Barnes makes $145,000. Communications director Geralyn Lasher, strategy director Bill Rustem, external relations director Terri Reid, legal counsel Mike Gadola, and Washington, D.C. office director Bill McBride are each making $140,000. Office manager Allison Scott is pulling down $120,000 and administration director Marsha Quebbeman is raking in $100,000.
Doesn’t sound too belt-tighteny and shared sacrificey to me.
I can’t forget the story of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old guy from Wyoming who was pistol-whipped, tied to a fence and left to die by two homophobic freaks back in October of 1998 because he was gay. He suffered head fractures and severe brain stem damage and never regained consciousness.
The cyclist who found the bloody 5’ 2”, 105-lb. man hanging on the fence 18 hours after he was left there thought he was a scarecrow at first. I can’t stop thinking about how he must have felt during those 18 hours, how betrayed he was by fellow human beings, how much he suffered and hurt, and how devastated his mother must have been when she found out what had happened to her baby.
Anita and I are teaching our babies that it’s wrong to look down on someone just because you don’t share their musical taste or sexual orientation or income level or religious beliefs or body type or wardrobe preferences. (I used to include “politics” in this list but that changed for me when the Republican Party eliminated its moderate wing and became hell-bent on robbing from the poor to give to the rich.) It’s none of our business if someone chooses to end her pregnancy, or a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman, or someone prefers Marilyn Manson to Marilyn Horne or vice versa.
We tell our kids that if someone is compelled to judge others and try to make their lives miserable because they don’t live as that person wants them to live, well, we have to fight ‘em. If an elected official panders to the mouth-breathers and represents the few and not the majority, we have to fight ‘em. If someone feels like causing physical harm to someone else because the other person is different, we have to fight ‘em. If lawmakers try to codify ignorance and prejudice into law, we have to fight ‘em. And if a person tries to justify their stupidity by quoting selectively from the Bible – surely the most contradictory reference manual ever printed – we have an obligation to fight their judgmental ass.
I think the Bible teaches that hate begets hate, doesn’t it?
Sources: Michigan Messenger, Vanity Fair, Mlive.com, Michigan Truth Squad