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No to Discrimination

From an article in today's NY Times by David W. Chen titled "New Jersey Court Backs Full Rights for Gay Couples":

New Jersey's highest court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples, but ordered the Legislature to decide whether their unions must be called marriage or could be known by another name. In a decision filled with bold and sweeping pronouncements about equality, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the Democratic-controlled Legislature 180 days to either expand existing laws or come up with new ones to provide gay couples benefits including tuition assistance, survivors' benefits under workers' compensation laws, and spousal privilege in criminal trials... The New Jersey court did not go as far as Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first state to permit gay marriage. Instead, it could be considered the new Vermont, which created civil unions for gay couples in 2000, in the politically, legally and culturally charged world of same-sex marriage... "We do not have to take that all-or-nothing approach," Justice Albin wrote of the marriage question in the majority opinion. "We cannot find a legitimate public need for an unequal legal scheme of benefits and privileges that disadvantages same-sex couples," he said. "We cannot find that a right to same-sex marriage is so deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this state that it ranks as a fundamental right."

In my opinion, that's the way it should be...states should have the right to define "marriage" as they choose, but they should NOT discriminate among their citizens based on sexual preference. Which brings me to another hot-button issue: affirmative action. In an opinion piece in The Chicago Tribune titled "Reverse discrimination gets another look", Steven Chapman discusses an upcoming ballot initiative in Michigan:

On Nov. 7, voters in Michigan will decide on a ballot initiative banning racial preferences in the public sector, and if it passes, opponents say, it will put the state back into the Dark Ages. Proposal 2 represents a reaction to the University of Michigan's use of racial double standards in selecting its students. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the preferences used in undergraduate admissions were unconstitutional but those used for law school admissions were not. The court said it was OK to favor minority applicants--and discriminate against whites--in order to promote diversity, as long as the school wasn't too blatant about it... The resulting measure...would amend the state constitution to bar the use of racial or gender preferences by public universities and government agencies. If it passes, no one would be penalized or rewarded for their skin color or sex. That was the point of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Today, though, colorblind policies are denounced as a form of oppression... At the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles, California's most selective state schools, the percentage of students qualifying for need-based federal aid has risen sharply since 1996. In socioeconomic terms, those campuses have become more diverse, not less. But in Michigan, the concept of diversity begins and ends with race. The claim that women would suffer without special help in college admissions is a particularly outlandish invention. At Berkeley and UCLA, women increased their numbers after gender-based preferences were scrapped. There is not much doubt that Proposal 2 would reduce the number of black and Latino students at the University of Michigan, the flagship public institution. But in California, the top schools have not become replicas of Ole Miss, circa 1960. The biggest gainer has been another racial minority--Asian-Americans. Nor have African-Americans and Hispanics been exiled from higher education. The total number of blacks at all University of California campuses has fallen only slightly, and Hispanic numbers have risen substantially. The chief difference is that many (though certainly not all) minority students have been shifted from the most selective state schools to somewhat less selective ones. Are these students worse off for not getting into Berkeley or UCLA? Quite the contrary. In the old days, black and Hispanic students generally got worse grades and flunked out at much higher rates than whites and Asian-Americans. But that is changing... Racial preferences, always a clear detriment to whites and Asian-Americans, have now been exposed as a false friend to those they are supposed to help. Michigan will have a better future if its voters abandon this relic of the past.

I tend to agree. A case can certainly be made for the benefits of affirmative action, but in the end it's just too bass ackward to discriminate in the name anti-discrimination and diversity.


Oh my, I knew it was cold today, but didn't think it was that cold in Hell, MI for it to freeze over. We finally agree on something!

I've got to be right every once in a while. ;-)

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