Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Domestic Partner Dance

Partner benefits in special session. Partner benefits not in special session. Special session dependent upon UK decision. UK approves partner benefits. Fletcher’s response?

University of Kentucky trustees approve domestic-partner benefits

University of Kentucky trustees on Tuesday afternoon approved domestic-partner benefits for opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples. The benefits are part of a major package that includes additions such as on-campus child-care centers and expanded opportunities for employee training and education for spouses, partners and children.

The benefits package passed by a 14-2 voice vote. Four trustees were absent. The "no" votes came from Pam May of Pikeville and Penny Brown of Corbin. The board's human resources committee approved the package earlier Tuesday by a 4-0 vote. Trustees Phil Patton of Glasgow, Sandy Patterson, faculty trustee Jeff Dembo and staff trustee Russ Williams all voted yes. A fifth trustee on the committee, Billy Joe Miles, was absent.

Governor says special session "unlikely" before primary

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said he doesn't expect to call a special session of the legislature until after the May 22 primary and is considering asking the General Assembly to address the issue of universities allowing domestic partner benefits. "It’s very unlikely that it might be before the primary," he told reporters in Louisville. "It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. After the primary is the most appropriate time."

3 in GOP discuss benefits for gays

The Fletcher administration may include the issue of domestic partner benefits for gays and lesbians working for state government in the call for a special legislative session. Robbie Rudolph, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Gov. Ernie Fletcher, said the administration talked about it today. Fletcher has said he wanted to call a special session to deal with the state's retirement system.

Both Fletcher and Rudolph oppose domestic partner benefits. "We'll take care of this once and for all," Rudolph said while discussing the issue during an hourlong debate on KET featuring the three Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover said Fletcher hasn't spoken to him about what he intends to place on the call for a special session, but he said adding it to the agenda might not have been needed if Fletcher had shown more leadership during the regular session. "If they hadn't closed their door every day at 5 o'clock — there wouldn't be a need for a special session," Hoover said in an interview later.

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