All politics is local .- Thomas "Tip" O'Neill
OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- Last night, Ohio state Rep. Tom Brinkman, Jr., came to Miami University's campus to hold a question-and-answer session regarding his lawsuit against the university's domestic partner benefits program.
On campus with the aid of College Republicans, the Ohio politician made his case to a Miami audience. For an in-depth editorial, read Blogbuefi's first-hand account.
The Cincinnati Republican filed the lawsuit in November 2005, citing the the state's recent ban on civil unions as the reason for the suit against the university.
Miami, located just a hour's drive from the Congressman's district, is the only university named in Brinkman's suit, despite the fact that Ohio University, Youngstown State, Ohio State and Cleveland State also offer domestic partner benefits.
The justification used to bring the suit against Maimi? The politician has touted the fact that he's doing this for "the children" - most notably, his two children currently attending Miami University. The legal basis for his suit? Ohio's Marriage Amendment, passed in 2004. The amendment reads "only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions."
Sure. If anybody actually believes that motive, I'll eat my own ass.
Brinkman's lawsuit may have less to do with his personal beliefs than his desire to play stupid politician. In a Cincinnati Enquirer piece last week, Brinkman revealed that he's considering a run against fellow Republican/Murtha basher U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (Ohio-2nd) this year.
It must be mere coincidence that the man chose to file his lawsuit against the largest university within the Cincinnati media market to offer domestic benefits, the same media market Miami shares with the 2nd Ohio Congressional District.
Did I mention that Miami also has a sizable percentage of students from the 2nd Congressional District, who probably haven't heard of this guy until he brought his lawsuit against their university?
I'm smelling a publicity stunt here. And it smells like stupidity.
The fact that the man keeps making a stink about how he's doing it for his children turns my stomach. Oxford is a tiny community; by bringing a lawsuit against the same university they attend makes their lives difficult, puts them in a spotlight that they may or may not want.I hope he at least had the balls to discuss it with them prior to the filing.
The problem with his legal argument is clear. Are giving health and dental benefits - which require an individual to fork over a share of the cost - really a violation of the law, or simply political trickery being used to bolster an image?
Gotta love politicos. Brinkman proves the longheld ZenFo Pro theory that that species known as politician will, indeed, eat its own children to bolster its chances for publicity.
This isn't the state legislator's first foray into playing politics with equal rights. In 2003, Brinkman was the lone General Assembly member to vote against Ohio's long-delayed ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This lawsuit isn't really about protecting Ohioans from the tax burden of providing domestic partner benefits to the hordes of gays and lesbian Miamians (only 30 of the university's more than 3,000 employees receive such benefits.) This isn't about protecting the rights of Miami parents' tuition dollars or the students at the university.
This is about getting votes in the 2006 Republican Party primaries and a chance at sitting in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007.
No more, no less.
NOTE - REVISED 1/31/06 9:10 PM