Today's question: Do you support same-sex partner benefits at MU?

Friday, November 6, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — President Barack Obama extended insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees this summer through the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act.

But despite an ongoing discussion of the matter at MU, nothing has happened. A recent article in the Columbia Daily Tribune reported that some MU faculty and staff are saying this is driving away current or potential professors.

Extending such benefits would allow gay and lesbian employees to add their partners to their university insurance packages. This isn't the first time the issue has been brought up at the University of Missouri System. In 2005, the Board of Curators did not support a proposal to include domestic partner benefits, an issue discussed in the 2008 Mizzou Diversity Summit.

According to the American Association of University Professors, more than 300 universities offer health insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

So why not the UM System? In the Tribune article, Betsy Rodriguez, system vice president of human resources, said "it just wasn't the right time" last year, because both she and President Gary Forsee were new.

But in an arguably more progressive time, when more states have approved recognition of same-sex marriage (including the nation's capital), it's probable this issue will come up once again. In Missouri, same-sex marriage is illegal and such marriages from other states are not recognized here. The argument, then, is whether to extend benefits to partners who cannot legally marry.

Should the UM System institute domestic partner benefits?


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Angela Hamilton November 6, 2009 | 1:40 p.m.

UM has the chance to take the lead on this issue within our state, and it seems to me that is a natural role for the institution. As has been noted elsewhere, our country is trending in the direction of providing rights and security for domestic partners. And in some areas of the country, you would already be hard pressed to find a company which *doesn't* offer domestic partner benefits. Since higher education in general is an institution which has historically championed tolerance and progressive ideals I think MU taking the lead on domestic partner benefits is a natural next step in the campaign for equal rights.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 6, 2009 | 2:37 p.m.

("The argument, then, is whether to extend benefits to partners who cannot legally marry.")

I would rather restate that with...The argument, then, is whether to extend benefits to partners who can not, will not or choose not to "legally" marry. This might be the more conclusive, inclusive argument.
Benefits extended to any employee should be decided by the employer.
Not by the government. And definitely not by pressures placed on them to advance a liberal progressive agenda supporting the fruition of homosexual families.

(Report Comment)
binky bobo November 6, 2009 | 4:56 p.m.

I don't think employers should offer insurance anyways.

But for ray shapiro's "The argument, then, is whether to extend benefits to partners who can not, will not or choose not to "legally" marry"

what about hetero couples who just live together with no intentions towards marrying? Should they be covered? Or couples in a protracted engagement?

Keep the State focused on basic things like fixing roads (which they can't even manage) and stay out of bedrooms -- that's what I says

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 6, 2009 | 6:21 p.m.

("I don't think employers should offer insurance anyways.")
Why not? Care to expound on this position.
("...stay out of bedrooms -- that's what I says")
I agree with the gist of that.
At this time, I would like to share the following with you, binky, as I emailed it to myself for future use. This is probably as good as anytime to share it with you...

("Subject: possible entry for November Missourian commentary regarding gay marriage/feminism

Know thy enemy.
Here's why Marxist support gay marriage. Or. so they say.
Ultimately, it is to destroy traditional family values and make people more beholding to the "state."

An interesting thread on such topic.....

(Report Comment)
Rachel Brekhus November 7, 2009 | 5:30 p.m.

Too bad the Human Rights Campaign's 100% rating as a "top company for gay people to work" because of partner benefits and harassment protection was not one of the bright ideas Gary Forsee brought with him from Sprint. Universities often lag the private sector when it comes to providing partner benefits because they're afraid to stand up to rich old alums. My gay friends at MU (who are hardly Marxists, btw, being Republican voters and all...) deserve the job benefits my spouse gets. Come on, Mizzou. Lead.

(Report Comment)

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