Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Council To Consider Domestic Partner Benefits Proposal

City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield (D) has introduced a proposal to extend health insurance, pension and family leave benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples. To qualify, an employee would be required to have shared a residence with a domestic partner with whom the employee is in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring for a minimum of one year and has signed a declaration of domestic partnership. The proposal would not just apply to same-sex domestic partners; it would also extend to unmarried opposite sex couples who are co-habitating. WTHR's Mary Milz has more:

"It's going to recognize there are many different types of families in the community and show we do value their service by providing benefits," Mansfield said . . .
Benefits would available would be "identical (to) those available to spouses," and include insurance, pension benefits and family/medical leave.
Will French, who's worked in the county clerk's office for four years and is gay, hopes the ordinance passes.
"Suddenly me and mine could call our families 'families' and the definition of families is expanding and this seems part of that expansion," he said.
Rick Sutton with Indiana Equality says the ordinance is about equality and economics.
"We think it means a lot for the city," Sutton said. "A lot of times, people don't want to go to work for government, because of the money and if you want to attract and retain the best you have to compete with the private sector and this sends a message we're ready to do that."
Mansfield agreed, saying the ordinance "isn't groundbreaking by any means."
She referred to a study that found in 2009, 83 percent of all Fortune 500 companies offered domestic partner benefits.
Mayor Greg Ballard is expected to sign the proposal if it passes the council. His new chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, had agreed at one point to co-sponsor the domestic partner proposal with Mansfield before budgetary concerns sidetracked it. "He understands it could help attract talent to the city. Many of our larger employers do offer those benefits, so if the council passes the resolution extending benefits it's something he'd take a look at," said the mayor's spokesman Marc Lotter.

If HJR-6, the constitutional amendment currently before the Indiana General Assembly that would write Indiana's Defense of Marriage law into the state constitution, is passed by the legislature next year and approved by the state's voters in 2014, it would overturn any state law or ordinance like that proposed by Councilor Mansfield. In addition to limiting recognition of marriage to one man and one woman, HJR-6 contains an additional clause that prohibits extending benefits or rights to same-sex couples similar to those enjoyed by married couples. In the event that happens, the constitutional amendment would likely face a federal challenge under the Equal Protection Clause.


CircleCityScribe said...

Great! First there is are millions of dollars in Public Safety that need an audit as to what Frank Straub did with OUR tax money....

-Now this new way to SPEND MORE TAX MONEY!!!!

...the benefits are intended for FAMILIES! Boyfriends/girlfriends come and go....GEEEZZZZZ!


Morning Constitutional said...

Right on concerning what the second sentence of HJR-6 would do to this or any similar domestic partnership ordinance. Maybe that's why Mike Pence's pick for his Lt. Governor running mate, Sue Ellspermann, was one of three GOP state representatives to vote to remove that draconian provision from HJR-6 earlier this year. Maybe she should be asked why she parted company with the usual "family values" line on that one. Maybe it had something to do with her concern over attracting and keeping talent in Indiana.