Dane County Board Correct To Require Domestic Partnership Benefits
UPDATE… The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted 25-9 to create a countywide domestic partner registry and to require that county contractors offer the same health and other benefits to domestic partners of their employees, as they offer to spouses.
Like many Wisconsinites I was sickened not only by the results of the 2006 statewide ‘gay marriage’ amendment, but also the very fact that such shallow politics was played by conservatives in the State Legislature. To allow a measure like that to see the light of day was shameful, as personal liberties and civil rights should not be voted on by the electorate. Why should anyone’s civil rights be held hostage by bigotry, and the less educated minds at the ballot box?
It is with that fresh memory of past injustice that I am truly certain that local units of government, such as the Dane County Board, are correct to flex their muscle and undertake acts, even small ones, to further the rights and goals of gay citizens, even in the face of those who wish to continue discrimination.
On Thursday night the Board will likely pass (by all press accounts) Ordinance Amendment 13. Kyle Richmond and Chuck Erickson have introduced a measure that has strong support, which would require certain companies who contract with the county to grant spousal benefits to their domestic partner employees, if they already grant such benefits to all other employees. At the same time a Domestic Partner Registry will be set up in Dane County, again making this county we call home a leader, as no other county in Wisconsin has had the guts to create one.
There are those that somehow wish to tie Ordinance 13 with the outlandish 2006 statewide amendment, and deem the hopes of many in Dane County as ‘unconstitutional’. But it seems the legal minds behind this ordinance have prepared an airtight measure that cannot be defeated, or undone by those who never see a gay right they do not wish to destroy.
Why this matters so very much is that Dane County is saying loudly and proudly that the devious work of those who orchestrated the hateful statewide amendment will not stop the work for social progressives, and the fight to allow all of our citizens to realize their dreams.
That is a very important message to send. In advance, I thank the Dane County Board for looking out for all those who are proud to call this place home.