Task force will examine UCSD marriage policies

    The A.S. Council approved a charter that would create a task force to compare and evaluate marriage and domestic partnership benefits and policies existing at UCSD during its April 7 meeting.

    Submitted by A.S. Student Affirmative Action Committee Representative Daniel Gonzales, the charter states that the task force’s duties include evaluating UCSD and UC policies that specify eligibility and benefits provided to students, faculty and staff members who are married or domestic partners.

    The charter was passed after a motion to pull the item from committee failed, forcing the council to adopt internal’s recommendation to pass item.

    Approval for the charter comes weeks after the council approved a resolution that opposed amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.

    “There’s a lot of criticism any time A.S. passes a resolution,” Gonzales said. “There’s some arguments that a resolution doesn’t amount to anything, but it means a policy change.”

    According to the charter, the task force would “promote the council’s ability to effectively operate and better serve” UCSD students.

    Task force members will research the various policies related to marriage and domestic partners specific to the UCSD campus.

    “With the resolution as a foundation, the task force was created as one of many ways to tackle this issue of serving an underserved community on campus,” Gonzales said. “It will review policies at UCSD that give benefits in the realm of marriage and domestic partnerships, what those benefits entail and whether the governance of these policies varies.”

    According to Gonzales, while policies granting benefits to married couples and domestic partners are governed by UC-wide standards, variance exists between different campuses, especially in the area of housing and financial aid.

    “The task force’s duty will be, in a policy level, to quantify the inequalities between domestic partnership and marriage policies and how these policies affect the educational mission of the university,” Gonzales said.

    The task force will also evaluate any impacts that would result from changing these policies, particularly if a constitutional amendment that would define smarriage as a union between a man and a woman, were to be passed. The task force is expected to give a report to the A.S. Council regarding their findings during seventh week.

    “The first part of report will show that the inequalities in those benefits are bad,” Gonzales said. “[In the] second part, we want to show that if we were to remove the domestic partnership policies in the university, which the marriage amendment would do, that it would be a hindrance to the educational mission of the university.”

    Members of the task force will be appointed by the A.S. president with confirmation from senators. According to A.S. President Jeremy Paul Gallagher, the task force will also be able to find ways to improve current policies.

    “I think the importance [of this task force] is to not only to protect and maintain the current benefits but also evaluate them to see where it can be improved,” Gallagher said.

    Gallagher said that he hoped to submit names of members to the council by April 14.

    According to some, the benefits provided to married couples and domestic partners is an issue that pertains to many people on campus.

    “This issue is something that is currently affecting lives, the lives of our parents, aunts and uncles,” Gallagher said. “This directly affects a huge percentage of our campus. We need to research this as much as we can.”

    Others, however, said that researching the issue would be limited with the creation of the task force. Revelle Sophomore Senator Ashley Aluisi said that she feels research on the issue should have taken place before the A.S. Council passed a resolution supporting same-sex marriages.

    “I do not believe a task force is necessary at all,” Aluisi said. “In fact, I feel that a task force of this nature limits the type and volume of research that needs to be conducted.”

    The marriage amendment endorsed by President George W. Bush would require a two-thirds majority in each house of Congress and must be ratified by 38 states.

    “We have queer students on campus, and marriage directly affects the livelihood and continued participation of students on campus,” Gonzales said. “A.S. is in a position to put together this task force … seeing that we have this A.S. policy resolution, we need to be proactive and tackle the issue.”

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