Kentucky Senate Passes Domestic Partner Benefits Ban

February 11, 2008 ( - The Kentucky state Senate has approved a bill banning Kentucky's eight public universities and other state agencies from offering benefits to domestic partners of their employees.

Sponsor Senator Vernie McGaha said it is about not sacrificing his convictions. “I do not recognize domestic partnerships as being a correct thing,” McGaha told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “My Bible teaches against it.” The vote on Senate Bill 112 was 30-5.

For their part, University presidents have opposed the measure, saying it will make it more difficult to attract researchers and professors. “Our position is and remains that we are hopeful the legislature will allow the universities to have the flexibility to make health care decisions for their employees and their families,” University of Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton told the newspaper.

University of Louisville trustees voted in 2006 to become the state’s first public university to extend health-insurance benefits to unmarried domestic partners (See University Trustees in Kentucky OK Domestic Partner Health Benefits ). The University of Kentucky followed suit (See University of KY Puts Domestic Partner Benefits Plan in Place ), and Eastern Kentucky University is looking at the issue.

Nearly 300 universities and colleges across the country and more than half of the Fortune 500 companies provide such benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights advocacy group based in Washington, the newspaper said.

The bill text can be read here .