Tags: domestic | party | benefits

Cincinnati Considering Domestic Partner Benefits

By    |   Friday, 06 Jan 2012 07:45 AM

Cincinnati may soon join other Ohio cities in offering health benefits to employees’ domestic partners. Councilman Chris Seelbach, the city’s first openly gay council member, is circulating a motion to get the city’s administration to study the issue, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
 
Seelbach said he would introduce the idea within the first 100 days after his Nov. 8 election, and a clear majority on council reportedly backs the idea.
 
Offering benefits isn’t just about doing the right thing or helping the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, Seelbach says, but it will also help the city compete when attracting new residents.
 
Cleveland and Columbus began offering domestic partner benefits last year. Only 15 people were eligible in Cleveland after signing up on a domestic-partner registry, with the city’s cost estimated at just over $100,000.
 
Columbus offers benefits to people who have been in a relationships for at least 6 months; plan to stay in the relationship indefinitely; were at least 18 years old; mentally competent; and could demonstrate financial responsibility.
 
Seelbach expects the city administration to report back with research and details in time for next week’s council meeting.
 
Opponents are already lining up.
 
Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, said his group will head to court if necessary because granting benefits would violate the state’s 2004 Marriage Amendment.
 
Burress said he doesn’t understand “why homosexuality — which is a behavior — is such a big priority with some people.”
 
“I don’t want another fight with the city of Cincinnati,” he said. “But they’re begging for it and we’ll give it to them.”

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