The bedroom police: 'Non-platonic' policies

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Opinion — CHRISTIAN EXAMINER

"University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university."

That may sound like a joke to you—maybe something from the satirical website "The Onion." But as a matter of fact, that sentence is straight from an actual news story in the Gainesville Sun.

The paper explains, "In addition to declaring financial obligations, prospective enrollees must 'have been in a non-platonic relationship for the preceding 12 months.'" However, "[University of Florida official Kyle] Cavanaugh said he had no plans to personally enforce the sex pledge"—that's comforting. "The 'non-platonic' clause is 'increasingly standard' in domestic partnership plans, Cavanaugh said. The clause is one of several methods used to legally ensure that an employer is only obligated to cover employees in a committed relationship, not longtime roommates."

The more you read, the more bizarre the whole business gets. So bizarre, in fact, that the Sun's article created an uproar in the community. The university was finally forced to remove the requirement. But the fact that they even tried it should really come as no surprise.

You see, one of the dangers of granting marriage benefits to domestic partners is how easily that privilege gets abused. How do you determine whether two people living together are really domestic partners? What if they are simply two friends who are living in the same house to get benefits? And once this kind of abuse gets started, what's to prevent more and more people from trying it? It's a recipe for financial disaster for the companies that are giving the benefits. And some of them are starting to realize it. Hence, the "non-platonic clause."

But then we get to the practical side of things: How on earth are officials supposed to make sure this pledge is being kept? Hence, the non-enforcement and eventual removal of the non-platonic clause.

But it's the height of irony. For years, social conservatives have been vilified for supposedly wanting to be "bedroom police." But now it's the social liberals who are in danger of becoming bedroom police—but such ineffective ones that they're more like Keystone Kops. They tried to create rules they had no way of enforcing, about something they had no control over.

The funny thing is, there's already a system in place to ensure that benefits go to truly committed couples who have a lifetime interest in one another's welfare. It's called marriage. Those who argued that it was too restrictive to give benefits only to married couples are now finding that it's the only way that really works.

It's just more evidence that the Christian view of love and marriage makes sense on every level, including the practical. You can set marriage apart and honor it as an institution created by God for the benefit of couples, children, and society. Or you can call it just one of many equivalent living arrangements—and end up policing people's bedrooms. Reality has a way of reinforcing the Christian worldview, whether we like it or not. And it makes all our wonderful utopian schemes look really silly.

Copyright© 2006 Prison Fellowship Ministries
Reprinted with permission
BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries