Domestic Partnership Debate Rages On

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

About 250 people filled the Capitol Rotunda on July 30, calling on lawmakers to ban domestic partner benefits.

Executive Director of the Family Foundation, Kent Ostrander, said Kentucky is facing a "constitutional crisis" over the matter.

Senate President David Williams* spoke at the rally.

He noted the state Senate passed legislation addressing all of Governor Fletcher's items, including the proposed benefits ban.

The talk of the proposed ban has even hit the hallways of Western Kentucky University's campus.

Wanda Cullum has been an employee of WKU's Nursing Dept. for nearly fifteen-years.

For a time, her husband also received his paychecks from the university. A family insurance plan was a part of the the Cullum's benefits from Western.

"We shared the benefits by both of us being here. It made our benefit plan easier for us. It was inexpensive. It's an excellent benefit," Cullum said.

She said that all of this debate is simply much ado about nothing and can be solved if only lawmakers look at one key issue.

That issue is how same-sex marriage is handled in Kentucky.

"If the state allows the same-sex marriages, then I think they should be entitled to the same benefits as everyone," Cullum noted.

That would be a problem for employees like those at WKU because in the university's 2007 Benefits Manual, it says that only lawful spouses can be covered by the university.

Also, the state shot down any hope of legalizing same-sex marriage back in 2004.

Cullum said she believes despite the final outcome, part of the community is going to be upset.

"Oh, I'm quite sure they will. Everyone gets upset about something at one time or another and I'm sure some people will upset," Cullum assured.

The General Assembly is expected to decide on the future of the proposed ban during the 2008 session.

For information and opinions on both sides of the issue, go to Ag.Ky.Gov or Click Here.


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