KY's Fletcher Calls Special Legislative Session for Domestic Partner Benefits Ban

July 5, 2007 ( - Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has summoned state lawmakers for a special legislative session to consider a ban on domestic partner insurance at state-run colleges and public agencies.

A news report on the Web site said the bill containing the ban was prepared after the University of Louisville offered the benefits – the first publicly funded college in the state to do so. The University of Kentucky later followed suit, also offering health benefits to same-sex domestic partners.

A legislative committee during last year’s session narrowly turned aside a domestic partner benefits bill covering families of university faculty and staff. State Senator Ernesto Scorsone, the state’s only openly gay legislator, accused Fletcher of “trying to score political points by hurting people.”

“It’s clear what he’s doing here on the call, and, quite frankly, it’s sad we have a governor who is a doctor and he’s trying to keep people from buying health insurance,” Scorsone told the Herald-Leader newspaper.

But House Minority Whip Stan Lee, who introduced the original bill to ban domestic partner benefits, said he’s glad the governor is stepping in to give the legislature a second chance.

Last month current Attorney General Greg Stumbo issued a legal opinion that the university plans would violate the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (See KY AG: Domestic Partner Benefits Unconstitutional ). Stumbo’s non-binding opinion suggested that the only way of providing health benefits to the partners of unmarried employees would be to make it all inclusive for any dependent living with a university employee.

The attorney general in releasing the opinion said that if the university did not expand the program and stuck to providing benefits to unmarried couples, he would take the university to court.

Following that the University of Kentucky expanded its benefits plan to include all dependants who reside with university workers (See University of KY Puts Domestic Partner Benefits Plan in Place ).