Professor May Leave University Over Marriage Amendment

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A UW Eau Claire professor is taking a stand against the proposed marriage amendment.

Sociology professor Pam Forman says she'll leave the university, and the state if the amendment passes. Professor Forman says she feels the amendment could deny lesbian, gay and unmarried heterosexual couples the benefits given to married couples.

As an employee in the UW system, she says the system is the only one out of states with "Big Ten Universities" that does not offer domestic partnership benefits.

"The general accounting office in 2004 put out a report that said there were 1,138 rights that go to people that are legally married versus otherwise coupled, and that's a phenomenal amount," Forman said.

She says those rights are what's driving her to look for work elsewhere and why she's currently applying for jobs in states that do offer those benefits.

But, not everyone agrees, Sacred Heart pastor Father William Dhein says many of those rights are primarily designed to assist families.

"Society gives benefits to lots of things that benefit society, and there's many studies that show that what is healthy for kids, and for society is to have families that are male and female, moms and dads, raising children," Father Dhein said.

He says that doesn't mean the church wants to withhold civil rights from non-traditional couples. Instead he says the church believes equating those rights with marriage is wrong.

Dhein says church teaching holds that every human being, regardless of sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.

Still, Forman says she feels if the amendment passes here, Wisconsin would be taking a step backward in terms of civil rights.
At this time, UW Eau Claire could not confirm whether she has informed the University of her decision.