University of Kentucky expands benefits to cover 'partners of unmarried couples'
The Bluegrass state has a marriage amendment in place that hampers the ability of the University of Kentucky to offer domestic partner benefits, as it would likely cause a legal challenge.
In order to do an end run on the bigots, the trustees have expanded the health benefits to cover any dependents who live with a university employee, whether they are same-sex or opposite-sex partners. (365gay):
University President Lee Todd said the school must provide benefits to the partners of unmarried couples to remain competitive and was complying with [Attorney General Greg] Strumbo’s legal opinion.
“[I]t honors our goal of trying to provide affordable health care coverage to our employees and their dependents as part of our efforts to create an attractive and more competitive compensation package for our faculty and staff,? Todd said in a statement.
This is reassuring in one sense — a partner will not be denied coverage at the University of Kentucky, but it is ultimately an inadequate solution to the real problem — wholesale discrimination in a state that has voted same-sex partners have no legal relationship to one another. The University of Kentucky ultimately cannot make itself truly competitive with other universities that consider committed same-sex relationships actual spousal equivalents. The best and the brightest will still go elsewhere.
* Michigan: Antics with Semantics or How to Insure the Invisible Partner (update)