University Trustees in Kentucky OK Domestic Partner Health Benefits

July 14, 2006 ( - A Kentucky university gave the green light Monday to include the domestic partners of its employees in the university's health benefits program, making it the first university in the state to do so.

According to a university news release, the University of Louisville is joining the ranks of other universities that have gone the same way, which include Ohio State, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michigan, Harvard, Duke and MIT.

Miami University of Ohio began offering same-sex partner benefits in 2004, the same year that voters passed an amendment barring same-sex marriage. In November 2005, one Ohio representative sued the university on the grounds that offering these benefits to domestic partners when the state constitution does not allow same-sex marriage in fact violates the constitution (See Ohio Legislator Says Same-Sex Partner Benefits Illegal ).

University of Louisville Provost Shirley Willihnganz said in the release that she hopes this will help the university’s faculty recruitment efforts.

Research shows that extending the health care offer to include domestic partners would not likely increase health care costs, the release said. Willihnganz said that university employees will have to “pay a premium to cover their domestic partner.”

When voting on the measure on whether to allow the benefits to domestic partners, all but one trustee voted to pass it. The one dissenting trustee said she needed more information.

Trustee Bill Stone, who voted for the measure said, “We are not endorsing any lifestyle. We are simply recognizing that people are people. We are recognizing the world we live in.”