Thomas Martin is the O.K. Bouwsma Chair in Philosophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Along with his fellow colleagues who are dedicated to the study of the Great Books, he teaches the works of Plato, Aristotle, G.K. Chesterton, Dostoyevsky, and Solzhenitsyn, to mention a few.
As a professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, I recently received an email from the President of the University, J. B. Milliken, on employee benefits. He notified me, as well as all other faculty and staff, of his proposal that university benefits should include same-sex partners and opposite-sex partners and their dependent children.
He did so because, in his own words:
I believe our proposal would put the University in a stronger position to attract and retain talented faculty and staff, address the changing needs of our employees, and help us to fulfill our goal to serve Nebraska.
His proposal, "Employee Plus One," would also allow those who are "unmarried [in addition to the same-sex and opposite-sex partners] to elect coverage for a partner who shares the employee's household."
He justifies this expansion of University benefits because every other Big Ten university provides "partner benefits."
He concluded with, "We are in a global marketplace for talent, and I believe that by not offering partner benefits, we will be at a competitive disadvantage."
As such a proponent, President Milliken obfuscates the institution of marriage by using the terminology "same and opposite-sex partners." This is like calling bachelors single - it is a redundancy. Married people do not have an "opposite-sex partner." They are married.
Milliken is using this politically correct terminology, ever popular on university campuses, in place of the traditional term "marriage," as if that is all marriage is - a partnership. Having established this line of reasoning, he further slides down the slippery slope to unmarried partners. He then concludes that any and all relationships between "partners" that include a member of the faculty or staff of the university is justification for health insurance.
In all of this, Milliken purports to be fulfilling his goal as the President of University of Nebraska serving Nebraskans. Mind you, this is a state that has a Defense of Marriage Act that does not recognize homosexual marriage, or people who are, in what was commonly known in the free-love 1960s, before the terminology of partnering, as shacking-up.
J. B. Milliken's proposal follows the doctrine of pragmatism which, simply put, means "what is profitable is permissible." We are, after all, competing in the Big Ten and the global marketplace.
Those entrusted with serving the citizens of Nebraska ought to be asked several questions, by any rational person who as a citizen of Nebraska may choose to send children to this prestigious University and support its policies with tuition payments, contributions and tax dollars.
How does one qualify to be a same-sex, opposite-sex, or unmarried-sex partner?
Can a person who is bi-sexual have a same-sex and opposite-sex partnership and have health insurance for both of his/her partners?
Who decides how many partners any one person may have in his/her household within the course of being employed at the University of Nebraska?
The people of Nebraska need to see the university's document which defines partnerships, their limits, and their benefits. This needs to be printed and published in the newspapers of the state.
The next logical step for the Nebraska Board of Regents will be to approve the construction of "unmarried student partner" resident halls for same-sex partners, opposite-sex partners, unmarried-sex partners - dare we discriminate - which President Milliken will justify using the logic that it levels the playing field for competing for students in the Big Ten as well as the global marketplace.
This liberal interpretation of marriage, in the sense of liberating man from any moral boundaries for the union of the sexes, is not an absolute union authored by God; it is a social convention, a relative union sanctioned by emotional needs, and is thereby, subject to change as suits the times.
What is fashionable in one age is not necessarily fashionable in another. In this respect our relationships are emotional fads, here today and gone tomorrow. Agreements are not vows.
There is no promise in promiscuity.
This all comes at a time when our nation is facing the crisis of children being born out of wedlock in epidemic proportion. This proposal is one further occurrence of a state government official dismissing the family as the heart of a stable nation while the media is clamoring about the disadvantages of children who are living in poverty, often with a single parent.
Aristotle long ago noted that the natural domestic society, a family of father, mother and children, precedes the political society. It is the social relationship of a father and mother into which each child is naturally born. This is the root of natural law, what is natural to man, and can plainly be seen as the natural function, for example, of the sexual organs.
In conclusion, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? " Not for the world, and certainly not for the Big Ten. *