The bill I’ve been writing so much about lately – SJR-7 – will have an affect on the domestic partnership benefits that are offered by state universities. Currently Purdue and IU have these benefits, and Ball State and other universities have been considering adopting them to remain competitive for the best faculty.
Currently, the right-wing sponsors of SJR-7 are lying their faces off to universities and trying to convince them that the bill won’t have any affect on these benefits. Chris Douglas has a really good post about how wrong they are, and Gary Welsh also talks about the legal analysis while talking about the recent Associated Press article on this very subject.
If you are an IU or Purdue faculty member, staff member, student or alum, please contact the trustees by phone or e-mail immediately to ask them to voice opposition to SJR7. Also, please forward this information to any of your friends or acquaintances who are IU or Purdue faculty, staff, students or alums. (At the end of this [pos is a sample letter to the trustees, for your consideration.). Contact information for IU is below the fold. I don’t have info hand on Purdue, but it should be easy to look up.
If you wish to send an e-mail to a single address, the trustees’ secretary Robin Gress will forward messages: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel. 812-855-3762; fax 812-855-5959.
If you wish to address all of the trustees in person, here are their e-mail addresses:
Clarence W. Boone, Sr.: email@example.com
William R. Cast: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey S. Cohen: email@example.com
Casey B. Cox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip N. Eskey, Jr.: email@example.com
Stephen L. Ferguson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas E. Reilly, Jr.: email@example.com
Patrick A. Shoulders: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue H. Talbot: email@example.com
Their individual phone numbers are listed at: http://www.indiana.edu/~trustees/contact.shtml
I suggest you also copy the university Provost–Michael A. McRobbie–and the director of University Human Resource Services–Dan Rives. Their e-mail addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Below is the text of a sample letter you could tweak and use, courtesy of John Clower from Indiana Equality.
Dear Trustees of Indiana University:
I am writing to urge you as a body to oppose Senate Joint Resolution 7. SJR7 is a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would deny rights and legal protections associated with marriage to all unmarried couples, same-sex or otherwise.
Passage of SJR7 would have a chilling and deterrent effect on efforts to attract and retain the best IU faculty, staff and students. It would signal a statewide intolerance of diversity and work against IU’s efforts to create new economic opportunities in partnership with the private sector, particularly in the life sciences.
The quality-of-life issues and family protections that SJR7 could affect extend beyond health-care coverage to fee courtesy, emergency family leave, hospital visitation rights, inheritance decisions, family tax benefits and adoption rights. Moreover, SJR7 violates the spirit of IU’s nondiscrimination policy as well as the proud legacy of equality bequeathed to us by former IU President Herman B Wells.
Although some lawyers are apparently counseling you that Indiana’s public universities “might not” or “probably won’t” be affected by SJR7, other lawyers think that public universities would indeed be affected. Playing Russian Roulette with quality of life and family protections for unmarried couples and their children at IU is simply not acceptable.
Please voice your public opposition to SJR7, and please authorize IU’s statehouse lobbyist to carry that message to Governor Daniels and to the leaders of the Indiana House and Senate.