Callous from Dallas: Maurine Dickey

Timothy Kincaid

October 30th, 2012

Meet Maurine Dickey.

No, she’s not a drag queen – that Texas Republican oh-so-smart 1980’s Clairee Belcher housewife look is her real persona, and as for the name… well, sometimes fate has a quirky sense of humor.

Maurine is one of five Dallas County Commissioners and her smile is not quite so superior today. Maurine just lost a vote in the commission (party line 3-2) on a bill (she opposed) and Dallas County will now give a stipend to reimburse gay and unmarried employees who are in domestic partnership arrangements and who pay for their partner’s health insurance. (Dallas Morning News)

The policy caps the stipend at the amount the county would pay for a married employee’s spouse. It is not available for employee’s whose partner has access to health care coverage through their own employer. Employees must sign an affidavit that defines the relationship as a domestic partnership and prove that they and their partner have lived and operated a household together for at least six months.

Now as we know, this is far from equal. I very much doubt that most employees’ partners can get insurance at or below the county’s negotiated rates or with anywhere near the benefits. But it still was too much for Maurine. Poor Maurine.

Republican Commissioner Maurine Dickey said the county was essentially creating a special pool of people for whom to provide separate benefits. She questioned whether commissioners should create special health care programs for obese people, smokers or people who drive blue Pontiacs made before 1978.

First off, let me say that Maurine is right. The county did give special rights and separate benefits. This stipend isn’t available to all employees on an equal basis and it is absolutely true that this is unfair. I oppose creating special pools of people. I oppose separate benefits.

Except Maurine seems to have forgotten one itsy-bitsy little thing: the county wasn’t the one who created this special pool of people; she and her buddies did that. In 2005, the Texas folk who think like Maurine looks decided that of all the people who share their lives with the one they love and who vow life-long devotion and care, they would exclude one group from the legal protections of marriage. It was the Maurine Dickeys of Texas who created that “special pool of people” to set aside and treat differently.

And it was Maurine and crew who decided that the benefits of gay employees would be different. Gay employees don’t want “separate benefits”, they want to be treated exactly like Maurine. And if Maurine doubts this then let’s trade; let the gay employees have the full legal protections of marriage and Maurine can get a stipend.

To complain that the weak secondary provisions which go a little ways to make up for the burden of your discrimination are “special”, to begrudge the crumbs tossed in the direction of those you’ve barred from the banquet, to be dismissive to those whom you’ve already unfairly deprived from equality under the law, that is callous and cruel.

Mary in Austin

October 30th, 2012

A lot of us in Texas want equality for everyone. We will continue to work and argue for it.

Richard Rush

October 31st, 2012

Like multitudes of Republicans, Maurine suffers from the inability to see reality as it exists in the present, and longs to once again see the beautiful glow of a “reality” as she imagines it to have existed decades ago.

I’d say to her, “Maurine, you need some Murine For Your Eyes.”

http://www.cowanauctions.com/auctions/item.aspx?ItemId=20492

Patrick

October 31st, 2012

I respectfully disagree. Anyone named Mo Dickey was born a drag act. You’re doing her a disservice by not pointing it out and helping her reach her potential.

Michael C

October 31st, 2012

The 2005 Texas marriage amendment is worded to prohibit the State from recognizing any “marriage-like” relationships. Can individual counties provide benefits to not-exactly-married couples even though the State deems it illegal? The Pflugerville school district in central Texas recently approved providing insurance benefits to domestic partners of school employees. I guess my question for you law-smart folks is what does their marriage amendment actually prohibit?

Reed Boyer

October 31st, 2012

From the comments on Rob Tisinai’s “I was Neville Longbottom” (January 28th, this year):

“An observation from life:

“As we pass from the shallow and insecure competitiveness of high school, those who are gifted in their appearance take on security. Those who do have bodies that turn heads on the beach seldom disparage others about their weight. The truly beautiful seldom note facial flaws in others. The graceful and athletic seldom mock the clumsiness of those less inclined.

“Comments which are designed to demean others solely on their appearance often tell us more about the person making such a comment than about their target.”

The author? Timothy Kincaid. Oh, wait . .. “SOLELY on their appearance?” Adding the play on her name into the slam of her dated appearance turns it all into wit and parody of the kind not since since Sheridan, Congreve, and Noel Coward.

Donny D.

October 31st, 2012

Yeah, Timothy, making multiple wisecracks about this anti-gay politico’s appearance and name wasn’t a good move. If you are exploring new writing styles, consider this one a failure and move on.

I’ve grown to expect the absence of this kind of writing in BTB’s blog posts, and don’t want the writing here to change for the worse.

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