The City Council of Kansas City voted unanimously to direct City Manager Wayne Cauthen to implement a domestic-partner benefit program by May 1, 2004, according to the Associated Press. The resolution directs Cauthen to provide, within 45 days, a plan discussing the logistics and costs involved in providing the benefits. The council introduced and passed the resolution with little discussion. About 50 members of the gay and lesbian community applauded the vote.
Mayor Kay Barnes said she had been working with members of the gay and lesbian community to explore how the city could offer such benefits, which would also be available to unmarried heterosexual couples. “It’s an equity issue,” Barnes said, according to the AP. “I’m encouraging the administrative side to move as rapidly as they can.”
The resolution also calls for the city to create a domestic partner registry. Residents would apparently not have to be employees of the city to qualify for the registry. The registry would give couples some rights that married couples enjoy, such as the ability to make decisions on a partner’s medical treatment in emergencies.
The domestic partner benefits issues has popped up all over the country in recent months (See New Mexico Governor Approves Domestic Partner Benefits ).