County to Study Domestic Partner Benefits
Special Report - February 4, 2009
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approved a plan last week to study whether to offer domestic partnership benefits to the same-sex and opposite-sex partners of county employees. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Commission discussed the issue at a two-day planning retreat where it voted 6 to 3 to allow county staff to begin studying the issue including how much it would cost and any potential legal problems. The proposal was introduced by Commission chair, Jennifer Roberts, who argued that offering benefits to domestic partners is a matter of fairness. Some members of the commission expressed opposition to the proposal, including Commissioner Bill James, who raised questions about the legality of offering domestic partnership benefits in North Carolina.
The homosexual advocacy group, Equality NC, applauded the vote in a statement, calling it “the first step towards offering equal benefits to unmarried same- and opposite-sex couples.” Other local governments in North Carolina that currently offer domestic partner benefits for either same sex couples and/or cohabiting heterosexual couples include the cities of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Greensboro, as well as Durham and Orange counties.
“Domestic partner benefits are yet another attempt by homosexual activists and their allies to normalize same-sex behavior into our culture,” said John Rustin, director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Domestic partnerships are not the equivalent of marriage and should not be treated as such. We urge the Mecklenburg County Commission to take an honest look at the issue and reject this proposal.”
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