What is happening at the University of Wisconsin is a sign of things to come, for those states that are considering constitutional amendments to ban both gay marriage and civil unions. It’s going to affect business deals, and employee recruiting. (365Gay.com):

In January, the University of Wisconsin will become the only school in the Big Ten that does not offer health insurance for the partners of gay and lesbian employees. Under state law it would be illegal to offer the benefits, and university officials are expressing concern that the school will be unable to attract the best faculty and researchers.

The only other Big Ten school currently not offering benefits is Penn State, but faculty have been receiving them under a plan where private donations fund them, and on January 1, the university’s own plan will commence.

The absence of domestic partner benefits is really a serious recruiting issue for us,” UW-Madison Provost Peter Spear told the Wisconsin State Journal. “We know of instances where we have lost outstanding candidates because of it.”

The university is also concerned about a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. Wisconsin already has a Defense of Marriage Act outlawing gay marriage.

The proposed amendment passed in the last session of the legislature (story). If it wins final legislative approval in January, it would go before voters as a referendum next April.

“It’s an issue that’s becoming more and more painful for people,” Mariamne Whatley told the Journal.

Whatley, a lesbian and associate dean in UW- Madison’s School of Education said: “With this marriage amendment, suddenly Wisconsin is looking a lot more hostile, and a state that was a leader (in non-discrimination matters) is really falling behind the whole Big Ten.”

Larry Klayman and Alan Keyes think that companies and institutions should stop providing partnership benefits to gay employees, I hope they take a look at this. Actually, they probably don’t give a rip about academic institutions anyway, because they believe the schools “breed liberals.” The elected officials and business leaders in Ohio warned about this to no avail when their state amendment came up — the voters have spoken — and now that state will suffer the consequences as companies will be forced to withdraw partner benefits.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding