Salt Lake City council counters mayor’s domestic partner plan

Posted on 12 Jan 2006 at 10:08pm
By Associated Press


Rocky Anderson

SALT LAKE CITY City Council members displeased with Mayor Rocky Anderson’s domestic partner plan have enlarged it to include other adults living with city employees.

A majority of council members objected strenuously when Anderson issued an executive order last summer, bypassing the council and establishing the domestic partner benefits.

In a straw poll Tuesday night, all seven council members said they would support the council-created plan to provide health-insurance benefits for city employees’ “adult designees.” That includes gay and heterosexual domestic partners, relatives and roommates.

To qualify, the designee would have to have lived with the employee for at least a year, and the two would have to be financially connected.

The plan is expected to cost the city an additional $140,000 to $225,000, depending on how many employees sign up.

A formal vote is expected Feb. 7.

Anderson signed an executive order in September extending health-insurance benefits to employees’ gay and unmarried heterosexual partners. That order has been challenged in court and has not gone into effect.
Once approved, the council plan would supersede the mayor’s, though it may not resolve legal issues.

Councilman Carlton Christensen said he may not personally agree with some of the living arrangements of employees, “but I respect the employee’s desire to care for that person.” He also said he feels “strongly there be some way more people get insured.”

Councilman Soren Simonsen said the plan “is a reasonable way to provide equal benefits to everybody.” Simonsen said the city could require its contractors to provide similar benefits to its employees.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2006.

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