Thursday, January 29, 2009

Partner benefits: Yes, study them

Despite the usual sexually tinged remarks from Mecklenburg County commissioner Bill James, the board of commissioners Thursday agreed, 6-3, that yes, it will study whether to offer benefits to domestic partners of county employees.

It's the right decision. Further, commissioners are right to ask county staff to be sure to give them information on the legality of such a move, and whether it would add to costs, and how such a benefit might be structured to inhibit fraud. While adding the benefits is the right thing to do, the commissioners should know the fiscal and/or legal repercussions of such a decision.

Instead of debating the issue, each commissioner was asked to give his or her position on whether to study the proposal, so the discussion was civil and relatively tame – at least until James got going. James opposes the idea and has in the past made remarks that some consider anti-gay. It was James who, in a mass e-mail, called the domestic partner issue "icky."

At one point, he asked commissioners' chair Jennifer Roberts – who was trying to say that the issue isn't about sex – whether she has sex with her "domestic partner" (she's married). Then James (also married) noted that he does have sex with his.

Commissioner James, there are some things we really would rather not hear you discussing. Yes, "icky" is about right.
- Posted by Mary Newsom


Older said...

Benefits for omestic partners? Wow Mecklenberg sure must be a rich county to even consider such a move. Just based on cost I wonder why that would even be suggested.

Anonymous said...

The last time the City of Charlotte studied domestic partner benefits, it turns out the cost was amazing low. BTW - how about the City? Isn't it time the City moved into the 21st century?

Older said...

Amazingly low. Costs were amazingly low with regards to what? Nothing that has to do with medical or other benefits is amazingly low. As for moving into the 20th century when it comes to spending the taxpayers money they should return to the days of sensibility and frugality in government no matter what century that might have been.

Anonymous said...

The "cost" reason is just an excuse to continue to discriminate. Married heterosexuals are not subjected to the expense excuse. These benefits are in counties large and small. In this state and nationwide.

Older said...

Then why don't they just get themselves a heterosexual partner and get married the legal way? While I am gay I don't believe in all this partner stuff and especially calling a legal union "marriage." It does cost substantially more and I as a taxpayer would object to it unless the laws were changed concerning same sex union. Until then majority rules.