16 Oct Carol Soelberg Stands Up For Marriage In Mesa, AZ
United Families International Vice President of Chapter Development, Carol Soelberg, was featured in a East Valley Tribune article this week defending marriage and speaking against domestic partnership registry in the state. Carol sent her full remarks to Tribune author Sonu Munshi (listed below). Munshi took her remarks and wrote a very Pro-domestic partnership registry article with a small spotlight on Carol’s remarks.
Carol Soelberg‘s Remarks on Mesa’s Proposed Domestic Partner Registry
The City of Mesa is known as a community committed to families and children. As a resident of Mesa and a representative of United Families International, I share that commitment and wonder why the city is considering an ordinance that is not only unnecessary, but has the unintended consequence of undermining marriage and family.
This “domestic partner registry” has the legal effect of creating an imitation marriage status for persons who are unwilling to marry or who are ineligible to marry under state law. This ordinance gives some legal recognition to domestic partnerships and cohabitation of the same or opposite sex. It sends a message that alternative relationships are good for society. There is a wealth of empirical data and studies that show that domestic partnerships and cohabitation are relationships that are less stable and more burdensome on society in matters of child welfare, health care, drugs and alcohol, poverty, domestic violence and crime.
Proponents of this bill rely heavily on the argument that there is a problem with hospital visitation rights for unmarried couples. We understand these couples’ concerns and their desire for visitation rights, but this is a straw man argument. Since 1997, the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act requires hospitals to recognize visitation and surrogate decision-making designations contained in advanced health-care directives. In the absence of such a directive, the statute requires hospitals to recognize “an individual in a long-term relationship with the patient…with a commitment similar to a spouse.”
This federal provision is especially suitable for meeting all hospital-related needs of unmarried couples whether heterosexual or same-sex. If Mesa, Arizona, hospitals are not complying with this law—and there is no evidence that I’m aware of that they are not—then the solution is in requiring compliance with the existing law—not creating a new and unnecessary ordinance.
If indeed the proposed ordinance is about protecting visitation rights, I am hard pressed to think that individuals in any type of relationship would choose to go to city hall, fill out paper work for a domestic partner registry and pay funds when they could go the admitting area of any Mesa hospital and for free obtain a Medical Power of Attorney form. The hospitals will also notarize the form for free if you are planning to be a patient there and some will notarize for free even if you’re not. A notarized Medical Power of Attorney in your possession is a more reliable instrument, than a name on a registry down at city hall. If this ordinance is about something more than hospital visitation rights then let’s be more forth coming with that information so that it can be openly discussed.
Strong traditional marriage benefits individuals and society as a whole: economically, physically, and emotionally; something that alternative relationships cannot match. I urge the members of the City council to devote their time and energy to developing policies that are truly necessary and policies that support, rather than undermine, marriage.
Vice President of Chapter Development
United Families International