The Providence Journal Sets Precedent

As I’ve suggested before, this case may not have been a big deal if decided in court, and it will probably be even less so since the judiciary didn’t get involved at all:

The [Tiverton] School Committee still has to work out some legal details, but it decided to extend the health-care benefits of retired teacher Cheryl McCullough to her spouse, Joyce Boivin. The couple, who live in Swansea, were married last June in Massachusetts.

There may be future cases that attempt to push this sort of decision further and further, but if McCullough’s contract extends the benefit to a spouse recognized in her state of residence, then the legal implications of extending the benefit to a spouse recognized in her state of residence are very limited. Things would be different if Rhode Island law explicitly forbid recognition of same-sex marriages in any form, but it does not.
Of course, as I’ve previously said, it increasingly seems that judges can find precedent anywhere and anyhow they wish, so even there, a school board’s decisions either way are of little consequence. What’s interesting, though, is the Providence Journal news department’s analysis. (Perhaps “speculation” would be a better word, because staff writer Michael McKinney offers no substantiation. Indeed, his independent quotations minimize the significance of the case.) Here’s the headline and first paragraph of the piece:

Towns providing benefits to married same-sex couples
A decision by the Tiverton School Committee this week may signal that Rhode Island is beginning to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex marriages among Massachusetts couples by affording them the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

There are two ways to interpret the spin: either the Projo is merely attempting to exaggerate controversy to sell newspapers, or it is attempting to frame the public’s understanding of the issue and the precedent with an eye toward future same-sex marriage cases. Neither option instills much confidence in the objectivity of its reportage on this matter.

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Andrew Burton
Andrew Burton
16 years ago

This has been my contention all along; the whole gay marriage thing is about money and it’s going to cost me (and you).
If it was simply about love then I’d have no problem. Some of my best friends are gay (yes, that was said sardonically) and I’d never want them hurt.
Why should spousal benefits extend to same sex marriages? Gays and lesbians can’t have children. (except through artificial means and that doesn’t count) These benefits were set up back in the day when one parent stayed home to raise the kids. And that is what they are all about: making it easier for married couples to raise their children.
What about childless couples, you ask? Same deal, they don’t need the benefits. In these liberated days women are just as capable of getting a job as men.
It’s all about the money. More free stuff for them at our expense. I don’t know about you, but I pay enough of my income in various taxes that go to the undeserving.
Sorry about the rant, just got off the phone with the accountant.

Andrew Burton
Andrew Burton
16 years ago

This has been my contention all along; the whole gay marriage thing is about money and it’s going to cost me (and you).
If it was simply about love then I’d have no problem. Some of my best friends are gay (yes, that was said sardonically) and I’d never want them hurt.
Why should spousal benefits extend to same sex marriages? Gays and lesbians can’t have children. (except through artificial means and that doesn’t count) These benefits were set up back in the day when one parent stayed home to raise the kids. And that is what they are all about: making it easier for married couples to raise their children.
What about childless couples, you ask? Same deal, they don’t need the benefits. In these liberated days women are just as capable of getting a job as men.
It’s all about the money. More free stuff for them at our expense. I don’t know about you, but I pay enough of my income in various taxes that go to the undeserving.
Sorry about the rant, just got off the phone with the accountant.

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