Asheville Council Wants DP Benefits
Special Report - February 25, 2010
The city of Asheville, North Carolina, could become the next city to provide domestic partner benefits for the same-sex partners of homosexual employees. The Asheville City Council voted 4-2 on February 9 in favor of agreeing “in concept” to a proposal to extend domestic partner benefits to the same-sex partners of homosexual employees, and instructed city staff to provide the Council with “implemention suggestions.”
At the meeting, Councilman Gordon Smith presented a power-point presentation on domestic partner benefits, and argued that they would “improve Asheville’s reputation as a safe, inclusive community that welcomes diversity.” He asked the Council to “extend domestic partner benefits to city employees who choose to register their same-sex couple status on or before January 1, 2011. The meeting featured impassioned speakers on both sides of the issue. While those opposed argued that it would be immoral and imprudent for the city, already running a $5 million budget deficit, to spend taxpayer funds on the controversial issue, others argued that providing for same-sex partners was an issue of human rights.
If the city of Asheville offers the same benefits currently offered to spouses of married employees, same-sex partners of city employees stand to gain medical, dental, vision, cancer, accident, life, and prescription insurance; bereavement, family, and medical leave. Mecklenburg, Orange and Durham counties, as well as the cities of Durham and Greensboro also offer domestic partner benefits to city employees, along with the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
“Asheville’s actions are yet another stark reminder of why it is so important for North Carolina’s lawmakers to act on a constitutional Marriage Protection Amendment,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Battles like this one in Asheville are chipping away at the state’s established position to support the sanctity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We are seeing more and more efforts to undermine marriage in North Carolina, which is the only state in the south to refuse to allow her citizens the opportunity to vote on whether to include the definition of marriage in the State Constitution.”
Copyright © 2010. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.