Ypsilanti City Council approves benefits for employees' domestic partners
City of Ypsilanti employees will soon be eligible for domestic partner benefits.
At its Tuesday, Aug. 6 meeting, City Council voted 5-0 to approve extending the benefits to employees’ partners.
“This has been a long time coming and I’m glad we finally got to it,’ Council Member Pete Murdock said.
The city is referring to a domestic partner as an “other qualified adult” and qualifying for the program includes a list of stipulations.
Among them, adults must have shared a residence for 12 months and they must have either power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for financial management.
There is a limit of one adult per household and joint ownership must be proven through two of four channels. Those include joint home ownership or a joint lease; a joint bank account; joint ownership or lease of a car; or a joint credit account.
Although he ultimately approved it, Council Member Brian Robb called the legislation too restrictive.
“I have been in a committed relationship for 20 years and I wouldn’t qualify. I think that’s insane,” Robb said.
Benefits include health care, dental, vision and life insurance.
City Council also approved a resolution supporting several state-level equally initiatives.
- Adds sexual orientation as a protected class to the Elliot - Larsen Civil Right Act.
- Eliminating the state legislative ban on same sex marriage
- Recognizing same sex marriages of other states.
- Placing the repeal of the Michigan Constitutional prohibition of same sex
- marriage on the ballot.
“We wouldn’t have to go through these contortions if we didn’t have this ban on same sex marriages,” Murdock said. “It’s a shame you have to go through this to get to where you want to go.”
A federal judge recently struck down as unconstitutional Michigan's ban on offering public employees domestic partner benefits.
Ypsilanti has a long tradition of supporting equal rights initiatives.
In 1998, when Ypsilanti and 10 other municipalities in the country passed a non-discrimination ordinance, the ordinance was challenged via referendum by a group opposed to it. The group supporting the ordinance won the election by 12 points. It was only one of two ordinances that were upheld that year.
In 2002, The American Family Association and Tom Monaghan worked to get language inserted into the city charter that said no protections would be provided to anyone who is gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. Voters defeated that measure by 26 points.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the AnnArbor.com news desk at email@example.com.