Univ. of Cincinnati Approves Full Domestic Partner Benefits

October 25, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A year after agreeing to offer limited benefits to same-sex partners, the University of Cincinnati announced a contract Wednesday extending full health care and tuition benefits to the domestic partners of about 6,500 employees, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Last year, the university agreed to offer limited benefits, including insurance coverage or sick leave, to domestic partners.

The university has now signed a new contract with about 2,300 professors represented by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and will extend the benefits to all of the eligible employees.

“It’s grossly unfair for people who are sharing their housing and sharing their salaries” to deny such benefits,” Sally Dunn, president of UC’s AAUP chapter, told the newspaper.

Miami University in Ohio has encountered resistance to its decision to offer benefits to same-sex partners in 2004. Ohio state Representative Tom Brinkman Jr. sued the university over its policy, arguing that it violated a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

Brinkman lost his battle in August when the 12th District Court of Appeals threw out the suit partly because the university uses private donations to fund its domestic partner benefits (See Ohio Lawmaker Has No Standing in Same-Sex Benefits Suit ).

In July, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher called a special legislative session to try to block the state’s universities from offering benefits to domestic partners (See KY’s Fletcher Calls Special Legislative Session for Domestic Partner Benefits Ban ).

The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky later reached a compromise, in whichthey would allow coverage for one “qualifying adult” – domestic partner or otherwise – in an employee’s household, as well as for that person’s children, but the coverage would cost more for the qualifying adult than it would for a spouse (See University of Louisville to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits).