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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Likins: Gay marriage ban could hurt UA

    Proposition 107, also known as Protect Marriage Arizona, could have devastating effects on the UA if it passes, said former President Peter Likins.

    “”The U of A is always competing for the very best people in the country, and anything that inhibits our ability to compete for the very best people in the country is a handicap for us,”” Likins said.

    With every other school in the Pacific 10 Conference offering domestic partner benefits, Likins feels that the UA is at a competitive disadvantage in terms of recruiting and retaining faculty.

    The proposition deals not only with same-sex marriage, but with domestic partner benefits as well.

    During Likins’ term as president, the UA established a program that provides tuition benefits for domestic partners legally registered with the city of Tucson. The UA still does not have significant domestic partner benefits, including health insurance benefits, Likins said.

    “”If Proposition 107 passes, the city of Tucson will have to take already allotted domestic partner benefits away, which will affect its employees,”” Likins said. “”Because U of A employees are employees of the state, state policies govern our faculty with respect to employee benefits.””

    Bonnie Capen, a philosophy senior, said she agrees that if voters pass the proposition, it could drive away current and potential professors from the UA.

    “”I think that passing this proposition will absolutely affect the quality of our faculty,”” Capen said.

    Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Nina Trasoff, Tucson City Council member, have also joined Likins in voicing opposition to Proposition 107.

    Trasoff said she felt fairly certain that the proposition could economically hurt the city of Tucson, if passed.

    “”There are several issues if you look purely from a business point of view; being able to offer domestic partner benefits is something that helps attract good workers to area businesses and is a selling point.””

    Kate McHugh, a studio art sophomore, said she felt that pulling away domestic partner benefits seemed unfair.

    “”If the (university) is going to offer benefits, it should be on a thoroughly equal basis,”” McHugh said.

    Andrew Greenhill, chief of staff for the Tucson mayor’s office, said he believes that passing Proposition 107 will have consequences not only for the gay community, but for the unmarried community as well.

    “”Proposition 107, if passed, would force the city of Tucson to abandon its domestic partner benefits,”” Greenhill said. “”Unmarried couples would no longer be able to do things like visit their partner in the hospital should he or she become ill.””

    Trasoff said the proposition is not only a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issue, but it also affects heterosexual people in committed relationships who have chosen not to marry.

    “”These people will also lose benefits,”” Trasoff said.

    “”As a local elected official, I do not like the idea that the state would take away our jurisdiction’s ability to make a decision about what is best for our employees, and certainly partner benefits fall into this category,”” Trasoff said.

    Trasoff said she feels strongly that this proposition will negatively impact Tucsonans and said that even the name of the proposition, Protect Marriage Arizona, is frustrating.

    “”I have yet to have anybody explain to me how (LGBT) couples choosing to live a committed life could in any way endanger my 29-year marriage with my husband,”” Trasoff said. “”It’s just a hateful proposition that targets a group of people, and I think that it’s awful.””

    Kenneth Hunn, an undeclared freshman, said he has mixed feelings about Proposition 107.

    “”I believe marriage is the term to describe the union of a man and woman with God,”” said Hunn. “”However, in the eyes of the government, I see no reason why two males (or two women) living together should not be afforded tax breaks when they live with combined incomes.””

    Statewide elections for this and other propositions, including Proposition 206, the Arizona Nonsmoker Protection Act, will be held Nov. 7. Additionally, the election will also determine the offices of the governor, other state offices, state legislators, a U.S. senator and congressional representatives.

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