The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Chronicle’s VIew: U makes the right decision on spouse cards and same-sex partners

Recently the U announced the availability of spouse cards. By offering these cards to non students of the U, the benefits afforded to students of the U can now be enjoyed by their partners.

The key to understanding the significance of the decision is found in the ever-so-important word “partner.”

According to the Associated Students of the University of Utah Policy and Procedure Agreement, those eligible are “all student spouses, same-sex partners and opposite sex partners who are not married.”

By extending these benefits to partners, specifically same-sex partners, is a substantial victory for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students on campus.

Across the nation, debates are being contentiously held on the rights of same-sex partners concerning health benefits, rights of attorney and marriage. The U’s policy indicates a commitment from the university to support, at least to some degree, the extension of benefits to same-sex partners.

Questions surrounding gay rights are growing more and more complex. The liberal tradition of the United States is committed to a limited role of government in making decisions affecting citizens’ personal choices and liberties. However, as the state works to provide certain services that are essential to citizens’ well being, the line between liberty and non-governmental interference becomes blurred. The blurring of such this line between liberty and government interference or regulation becomes quite problematic with the issue of gay rights.

Intuitively, it seems that one’s sexual preference is nobody’s business but one’s own. The problem arises when certain state funded benefits come with prerequisites relating to sexual preference, like marriage.

As marriage is an institution reserved for only heterosexuals, it is an option that is unavailable for homosexual men and women. As such, the benefits given to individuals from the state are predicated on one’s sexual preference-a personal choice.

The decision by the U to extend the benefits of spouse cards to same-sex partners is both logical and encouraging. It is illegitimate to discriminate against people based on their sexual preference. By conditioning certain benefits on one’s sexuality, the state would be discriminating, and such a policy would be illegitimate.

Undoubtedly, there will be an attempt at some level of the system to change or overturn the U’s decision in this area. Such a move by any party to do this-regardless of how opponents paint their proverbial pictures-is nothing more than simple-minded discrimination.

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