Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meck County gives the nod to domestic partners, offers benefits

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 12:07 PM

What took so long?

Waaaay back in 1998, this same type of policy -- offered to me through my employer (a large insurance company) -- allowed my then live-in fiance to sign up for health care insurance. We paid the premiums through a salary deduction. It wasn't a new company policy, by the way. It was standard practice and had been for years.

He was self-employed and trying to grow his small business. At the time (and it's only worse today), it was nearly impossible to find a quality, affordable health plan for a sole proprietor. If it weren't for domestic partner benefit plans, he would have been uninsured for the two, or so, years we shacked up because his business was still in the red and he couldn't afford an individual health insurance policy.

When we broke up (and thank goodness we did), his benefits ended. End of discussion. (P.S. After we broke up, he bought his own coverage from an insurance agent friend of mine and ended up paying three times as much as what we paid through my employer.)

So, you see, domestic partner benefits aren't all about same-sex couples. And, the idea that they are is nothing but political babble.

Keep in mind: This idea of "normal" some members of our society try to push on everyone else, doesn't exist. It's time to acknowledge that and embrace every member of our community as an equal -- regardless of the color of their skin, which deity they worship, where they come from, their age or who they choose to love.

Mecklenburg County will offer domestic partner benefits in 2011 to employees in same-sex relationships, under a plan approved Tuesday night by county commissioners.

The board vote split 6-3 along party lines to begin offering the benefits during its next open enrollment period, which would start next fall.

Democratic commissioners said the change could help the county recruit and retain workers who are in same-sex relationships by offering them the same benefits given to married, heterosexual workers.

The board's three Republicans opposed the policy, saying there appeared to be no demonstrated demand among county workers for the benefits and that offering them could violate state laws against cohabitation.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by April Bethea, here.

From January:

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