Winning elections is one thing. But the real work is the constant vigil to ensure that those who got elected follow through on their promises and platforms. With a sweep of pro-family statewide officials and a wider majority in the House of Delegates after November’s election, it would be easy to sit back and watch. However, late last week Governor Tim Kaine (contact), already intent on creating mischief for the incoming administration by proposing tax increases in the new budget he will introduce before he exits office, lobbed a grenade into the room when he announced his intention to expand health care benefits for state employees to include not only same-sex partners, but anyone living in a house with a state worker. A peculiar legacy indeed, but he's leaving office as he came in — promoting tax increases and special rights for homosexuals just as he did in his first week in office, despite campaigning to the contrary. Already, the state’s largest homosexual "rights" lobby, Equality Virginia, is actively promoting the change.
While expanding benefits to same-sex relationships is a clear violation of the Marriage Amendment passed by Virginia voters just three years ago, it is obvious that Governor Kaine has no intention to abide by it. Currently, only spouses and children are eligible for state health care benefits. Because these types of benefits have traditionally been "benefits of marriage," expanding beyond marriage violates both the spirit and the language of the Marriage Amendment. Health benefits have been tied to marriage for decades because the state understands it has a compelling interest in benefitting and encouraging marriage —ultimately because children benefit the most from marriage. As the vast majority understood in 2006 when 2.1 million of us voted in favor of the Marriage Amendment, we need to protect and elevate traditional marriage for our children’s sake.
Attempts at expanding this beyond marriage makes any and all relationships equal to marriage, thereby undermining that foundational institution. Interestingly, the "Notice of Intended Regulatory Action Agency Background Document" that announces the regulation change makes several astonishing claims, such as saying the proposal "should have little impact on the family or family stability."
Really? By allowing non-married couples the identical benefits as those who are married, does that not make marriage less necessary? The notice also claims that the only "alternative" to the proposal is nationalized health care, such as the current Congressional proposals.
Kaine’s plan, as proposed, borders on the ludicrous. It would seemingly allow a recent college graduate who gets a job with the state to add any and all of his or her housemates to his or her health insurance.
One of the most influential proponents of this type of domestic partner benefits has been the presidents of Virginia’s taxpayer funded colleges and universities, claiming that they can’t bring qualified professors to our college campuses because other states offer such benefits. Yet, only 16 other states currently offer such benefits.
While the proposed benefit expansion will ultimately be decided upon by Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, who expressed reservations about it due to possible costs, proponents of the policy claim that there will be no cost to the state. However, such an expansion of benefits, certainly will increase the cost of health insurance for the state and consequently, Virginia taxpayers.
But don't think you can't do anything about this: There is a public comment period until midnight December 23, where the Department of Human Resources Management is seeking your opinion.
Once on the site, click "Enter a comment" and express your opposition to Governor Kaine’s proposal.