Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Benefits urged for domestic partners

KU faculty, staff need more benefit options, committee says

March 5, 2008


It's past time to offer domestic partnership benefits.

That was the consensus reached Tuesday at a meeting of Kansas University's University Senate Executive Committee. But more than domestic partnership benefits, the committee concluded that KU's entire benefits system needs to be revised to give faculty, staff and even students more options.

"We want to have a 21st century benefit plan," University Senate President William Crowe said. "We want people to be able to choose their benefits from a basket of benefits available."

Crowe said that when he was at Ohio State University, the university offered legal insurance and financial planning, all of which could be choices for faculty and staff to choose from. He said, for example, a person could choose to receive less vacation to receive financial planning or health insurance for a domestic partner.

The issue, Crowe said, has been considered by the Faculty Senate's committee on compensation for about two years and has taken on greater interest among members of the unclassified staff senate.

Diana Robertson, KU's Student Housing director, approached the unclassified staff senate because her partner will be retiring soon, and Robertson would like to add her partner to her benefit plan. Current policy - and state law - prohibits that.

"I can go to another institution in another state and get these benefits, but we don't want to leave," Robertson said. "We want to keep Kansas as our home."

The committee concluded that this was an issue of fairness that is key to recruiting and retaining faculty and staff. Several committee members had personal anecdotes of friends or colleagues who had left the university - or chosen not to join the school - because they couldn't get the benefits their family needed.

"I think the time has come to take this forward," Robertson said.

The committee decided to form a task force to evaluate what is done at other universities and in the private sector and how those lessons could be applied to KU. It expects to receive a report sometime next month.

Committee members acknowledged that potential changes - which would require a policy change by the Board of Regents and statutory changes by the Legislature - would not come easily. But student body President Hannah Love said it was a challenge the university could handle.

"We're the research university in the state," she said. "We're supposed to take difficult issues and move them forward and be on the cutting edge."


toefungus 10 years, 3 months ago

Not a good idea. The costs would soar and benefit very few. The answer is not more handouts, but less. Benefits should be taxable and co-insurance very high. This would help drive down medical costs across the board. Rational choices for medical care are nonexistent when costs can be shifted to someone else.

davidnta 10 years, 3 months ago

Sure Multidisciplinary, if you like you cat that way sure why not give benefits to you and your cat ;)

bd 10 years, 3 months ago

At what costs to the rest of us! Get a clue! You knew the rules when you got into this! Here we go again, subsidizing annother small selfcentered group wanting handouts!

I'm sorry but I have about had enough!

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago


But homosexual couples are not married, and our society rightfully bestows benefits upon those who choose to marry.

ksdivakat 10 years, 3 months ago

I would love to talk with anyone who has been registered, and ask them what benefits or recognition it has provided for them. I cant make a decision on it until I know a little more about it.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 3 months ago

Domestic partner benefits are not only for gay couples. Most of the largest companies already offer benefits to unmarried partners because it is good for their business. Putting social issues aside this is important in the attraction and retention of qualified employees. Turnover is a large hidden cost that can be avoided. There are little extra costs involved as the employee pays the additional premiums. More people insured is also good for Kansas. If persons are not insured ultimately they will either end up going to the ER and this will result in higher hospital bills. Or the taxpayer will pay for uninsured persons.

Partner benefits make good economic sense.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 3 months ago

Has Lawrence's domestic partner registry actually damaged anyone's marriage, harmed the city, harmed you?

ksdivakat 10 years, 3 months ago

gayokay, my question is just that.....has this registry done what its advocates hoped it would do?? Its just a question, I cant make a decision one way or another until I know what the facts are about the existing registry. Is it reaching the recognition that those who advocated for it, stated it would??

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago

"How can one 'choose' to marry if they are not allowed to marry?" - scenebooster

Exactly my point. Homosexuals may not marry. Otherwise, it wouldn't be marriage.

bd 10 years, 3 months ago

I have made a "LEGAL" commitment to my spouse under the law! If I choose to provide insurance to my spouse it will be based on economic/personal choices!

If the law is changed to suit you, fine, until then give it a break!

This whole registry thing is a lame way of trying to circumvent the law!

bd 10 years, 3 months ago

Yeh, and I am a lebian trapped in a mans body!

Get over it!

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago


My entire argument is not based on the premise that homosexual marriage weakens the millenia-proven societal institution of heterosexual marriage, although one could write a doctoral thesis on this singular point.

I am most concerned about harm to children. Biology (not theology) has determined that children are most likely to thrive in a home comprised of a loving husband and wife. And while heterosexual marriage is no guarantee that every child will be born into a loving household comprised of a mom and a dad, homosexual "marriage," by definition, precludes this from even being an option. Therefore, society must and shall continue to protect traditional marriage from radical attempts to redefine its most basic, indeed its most sacred, of institutions.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago

"So homosexual marriage is a bad idea because no natural children can be born?"

No. It's a bad idea because there will never be a mom and a dad. Homosexual marriage means there will always be two "mommies" or two "daddies."

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago

"your 'argument' is based in nothing but religious intolerance."

You're the one, scenebooster, injecting religion into this, not me. In fact, you're desperate that I try to make this issue about religion because, in your mind, that will be easier to fight. I just choose to pick apart your theory with logic.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago

"There is absolutely no reasonable argument for your position that isn't doctrinal in origin."

Funny then that every society on earth since the beginning of recorded history has rejected homosexual "marriage" as untennable.

WHY 10 years, 3 months ago

Instead of questioning whether domestic parterners can get health benefits, lets let any two or more adults marry and give healthcare to all. We all need to learn how to mind our own business about other people's personal choices and worry about those things which effect us all.

Erin Parmelee 10 years, 3 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says:

"So homosexual marriage is a bad idea because no natural children can be born?"

No. It's a bad idea because there will never be a mom and a dad. Homosexual marriage means there will always be two "mommies" or two "daddies."

Ah hell. I must be screwed then! My Mom went basically AWOL when I was 4, and based on the number of divorces and marriages between my "original parents" I have.....3 "mommies" and 2 "daddies." Do I get extra credit or something??

sfjayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Its funny watching these rednecks try to mask bigotry behind some very weak arguments. Why not just admit that you fear and dislike gays? Try the truth for a change

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago


I think we'll have to agree that I am right and you are still learning.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 3 months ago

"We all need to learn how to mind our own business about other people's personal choices"

In my opinion, this is the type of thinking that is submarining our society. When we have given up on clearly identifying right and wrong behavior, whether it affects others or not, we set ourselves on a course for personal and societal destruction.

WHY 10 years, 3 months ago

sfjayhawk. "Why not just admit that you fear and dislike gays?" Exactly. This whole argument about partnerships and parenting are all about people who hate gays because their pastor or some religious leader told them to.

sfjayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

WHY - you are correct rednecks refuse to admit the truth, that their religious leader (who does all their thinking for them anyway) has told them to fear and hate gays.

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

WHY (Anonymous) says:

"sfjayhawk. "Why not just admit that you fear and dislike gays?" Exactly. This whole argument about partnerships and parenting are all about people who hate gays because their pastor or some religious leader told them to."

This is a ridiculously simplistic statement, and the adherence to such beliefs is one of the obstacles preventing any kind of meaningful domestic partnership or same-sex marriage from becoming a reality.

I have seen many reasons presented in favor of those things. Some say the government should stay out of people's personal relationships. Some say it's about rights such as inheritence or hospital visitation. Some say it's basically financial, having to do with taxes and health insurance. It is ludicrous to assume that with so many reasons being presented in favor, that there is only a single simplistic reason against.

It's easy to say that only religious conservative homophobic Republicans are against same-sex marriage. And yet the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by a Democratic president. Yes, there was a Republican congress, but not one with a veto-proof margin. 65 of the Representatives and 32 of the Senators who voted for it were Democrats. And something like 55% of the public is against same-sex marriage. Are all of these homophobes?

There may be any number of reasons for the opposition to same-sex marriage and/or domestic partnerships by such a huge number of people. I will not presume (as others do) to speak for them by assuming I know what all those reasons are. Nor will I (as others do) presume to judge whether or not those reasons are valid. You might notice that nowhere did I say whether I was opposed to either myself. I'm only saying that it's simplistic and counterproductive to assume that only right-wing religious homophobes oppose same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships; it only makes it more difficult to overcome opposition if you refuse to acknowledge who the opposition is and what their reasons might be. Gay rights proponents lined up to vote for Bill Clinton, and what did they get for their support? They got DOMA and "don't ask don't tell."

WHY 10 years, 3 months ago

Notajayhawk. There is no rational reason why two men who love each other can not form a legal union to share their lives with each other and raise children. The only reason why people would oppose this is if they hated gay people. And why would someone hate a gay person other than because of some ancient ignorant religion? And to answer your question are 55% of people homophobes? You bet.

mick 10 years, 3 months ago

"i want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now." Is that the theme song?

staff04 10 years, 3 months ago

parkay (Anonymous) says:

What is so 21st Century about sodomy benefits? Thousands of years ago, Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain had sodomy benefits, until the fire and brimstone hit, permanently smoking their benefit plan. (Genesis 19:24-29; Jude 1:7)

You do realize that there are homosexual couples who are females, right? Oh...that's right...those are the ones you fantasize about, not the sodomizers...

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"Can you name even ONE reason besides a dislike of homosexuals, notajayhawk?"

I believe I did so in the other thread. Perhaps a good place to start would be, as I said, would be looking at why some of the people who don't fit into the religious-conservative-Republican mold oppose it.

Why did the Democrats who voted for (or signed into law) the DOMA choose to do so? I have no way of knowing why all 97 (or 98) of them made that choice. Like I suggested, maybe the only reason was because they couldn't figure out a way to pay for the increased health insurance costs for federal employees. Now, is that a valid reason? In my personal opinion, no, but my personal opinion isn't going to change their minds - I'm not the one who's charged with trying to balance a billion here, ten billion there. And whether or not it would be a valid reason is academic. The point is that calling them homophobes isn't going to help them find the money, is it?

Maybe it was a political trade-off. Maybe in some backroom deal they went along with those who wanted the DOMA passed in order to gain their support on another issue, one they considered more important because it affected more people across the country. Again, is that valid? Maybe not, although we all know that's how Washington works. But again, ignoring the fact that they had another reason does not accomplish anything. If it was some kind of trade-off, then perhaps a lot of public support and political action and lobbying for the trade-off issue would have obviated the need to make the deal on DOMA, and had better results than just assuming they don't like gays.

Again, these are suppositions. I will not presume to speak for them or to be able to read their minds. But to assume that your supposed reason is valid just because you can't think of another one is simply not - logical. One reason, valid or otherwise, that you seem to be neglecting - hetero-only marriage is the status quo. It's the people that want change that have the burden to both present reasons for change (which they're doing) and to remove the objections of those who don't (which proponents are not recognizing or even acknowledging).

Maybe the objections to domestic partnerships around here are also financially based, maybe they don't want their taxes increased to pay for increased health insurance costs to the city. Again, valid? Maybe not. But again, it doesn't matter - by first recognizing and acknowledging that this is, indeed, the basis of the opposition, and second finding a way to address that, you'd have better results than just calling them homophobes.

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

WHY (Anonymous) says:

"Notajayhawk. There is no rational reason why two men who love each other can not form a legal union to share their lives with each other and raise children. The only reason why people would oppose this is if they hated gay people. And why would someone hate a gay person other than because of some ancient ignorant religion?"

And this is another example of the problem at hand. For you this appears to be an issue based on emotion rather than reason. This is hardly unusual and applies to many of the major controversial issues of our time, like abortion, capital punishment, gun control, etc. Like I just said above, whether or not you believe someone else has a reason to disagree with you or whether you think their reasons are valid, they have the status quo on their side, and like it or not it's up to you to address their reasons.

"And to answer your question are 55% of people homophobes? You bet."

All I can say is, if that's truly the case, then you're screwed, because you're not going to be able to change that, and all believing that accomplishes is giving you something to lash out at in your frustration.

World_Vision 10 years, 3 months ago

STRS: Why don't you just answer the question instead of dodging it and trying to shift the focus?

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 3 months ago

Can we all pull this back into the station? This thread is not about CIVIL MARRIAGE which is not "gay" or "same sex" or "homosexual marriage". Which by the way I can get married to my partner in life of over ten years in any church that will have us. It is the civil contract and the governmental recognition that goes with it that is at stake.

This thread is about domestic partner benefits. Voluntary benefits that an employer chooses to offer its employees be they unmarried partners of the same gender or of opposite genders. Companies offer these benefits voluntarily and legally to attract and retain qualified employees. They do it to be competitive in the job market.

Kansas University should offer these benefits as most of the fortune 500 companies already do and KU should also to be competitive. This has nothing to do with anyone's ICK factor, religion or marriage.

And oh, studies show that children fair just as well in a gay household as they do in a house with a mommy and a daddy. And no they don't turn out gay. I'm super gay and I was born to Ward and June freakin' Cleaver. Gay is not taught and it isn't caught.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 3 months ago

For those interested in fairness and equality in the law...

Join, and fight the right (or wrong as the case may be).

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"Okay, I can agree that cost might be a concern."

Please don't focus on that. As I very plainly stated it was a hypothetical, as I do not know what their reasons are. I only wanted to point out that they may have reasons, significant or not, valid or not, and that it would be much more productive to find out what they are and address them rather than assuming they're all just homophobes. Because if that is the only reason, as I said to WHY, then the proponents of gay rights are screwed.

"I am not assuming any supposed reason is valid, I am insisting that the reason is not relevant to a conversation of what is or isn't bigoted."

But you're assuming the bigotry (more accurately you're assuming bigotry is the only possible conclusion to reach). And for some opponents that may be very true. I said it was illogical to assume that people don't have any other reasons just because you - or I - or anyone else here - can think of one. You know that it is a logical fallacy to assume something doesn't exist just because you don't have proof of its existence.

Don't know if you left the other thread before my last post, the example of the bus?

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"I was trying to point out that for every reason given for disallowing rights to certain citizens, there is a solution that does not involve unbalanced distribution of those rights."

I absolutely agree. (And that's scary.) However, if you want to fix the problem, you need to know what problem you're dealing with.

"I guess my deeper point is that bigotry isn't a reason, it is a behavioral label. I agree that people's reasons may be wide and varied, what I don't agree is that the varying reasons change the behavioral label."

Not sure I agree with that so much. Suppose a motorist runs down a child in the street. Maybe he hates kids. Or maybe he's just getting too old to drive. Or maybe it was a mechanical failure in the car that had absolutely nothing to do with the driver. (Maybe it was even a borrowed or rented car that he had no responsibility or opportunity to maintain.) From a functional standpoint, you're right, it makes no difference to the victim. But it does make a difference whether this was an intentional act on the driver's part vs. a mechanical failure as to whether you can say there was any 'bigotry' against children (or pedestrians or whatever) by the driver. And, as I've been saying, the corrective action required (corrective in this case meaning keeping it from happening again) would be very different for each possibility.

Or, okay, let me go back to the bus example from the other thread, which I may as well repeat here if I'm going to discuss it.

Imagine you're at a bus stop in a large city. The bus comes, and 11 Caucasians, 4 Asians, and 7 Hispanics get on. When an African-American man tries to board, the bus driver says he can not. Well, this is obviously discrimination, right?

Or maybe the bus was full. Better still, let me go one step further this time - suppose the bus did have a couple of open seats but they were hidden from the driver's view. Then anyone who saw this example, from inside the bus or outside, would have no idea, could imagine no possible reason why the driver acted as he did, and pretty much anyone would jump to the conclusion that it was a case of discrimination.


notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago


But was it? To use your functional definition, yes, because the end result, no matter the cause of it, was that Caucasians, Asians, and Hispanics got on the bus and an African-American did not. But from where did that bigotry originate? Was it a conspiracy of all the people who boarded the bus prior to that stop? Was it the fault of the very large person sitting in front of the empty seat causing the driver to believe the bus was full? Was it the bus manufacturer's fault for not making a bus with more seats? How about if the man was gentlemanly enough to have let an elderly Caucasian woman on the bus ahead of him - in other words, it was his choice, else it would have been a Caucasian left standing on the sidewalk.

Now, obviously there are problems with the comparison. But there are a couple of points that apply. First, nobody knows what the bus driver was thinking, so nobody knows why he kept the man off the bus; but just because none of us could imagine that he had any valid reason, it doesn't mean there was no valid reason. And while functionally it did affect a person of one ethnicity differently than it did people from other groups, that was circumstantial, and you can use terms like unfair or inequitable to describe circumstances, but I don't know if you can use bigotry. And finally, you have to know what the exact problem was in order to fix it. If you fire the bus driver for being discriminatory, it doesn't solve the problem. If you get bigger buses with more seats, it won't help if the bus driver really is a bigot. In this case the entire problem could have been avoided if the bus had better placement of mirrors to view open seats. Or if the passenger who didn't get on had left the house ten minutes earlier (especially if this is a repeated problem).

All I'm saying (and all I've said) is that if you assume there's only one possible reason for opposing same-sex marriage or similar arrangements, and that you know what that reason is, it keeps you from recognizing, and therefore being able to address, potential other obstacles.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 3 months ago

This is beyond stupid. Either all partners get benefit options or none do.

I don't give a carp about religious reasoning or sexual practices. I just don't want it causing me much grief. We are all human and should be treated as humans. We are all members of this society and this country and we should all be treated equally. Being in a partnership is either good or bad. What do you think? Good or bad? Is it necessarily good if you and your partner's gonads are different? Why? Because you have a window of opportunity to create soldiers of your chosen armies? Helpful...? The partner benefit options seem to be a throwback to a kinder, gently time...?...part of a plan to multiply and subdue the earth. I think the place is looking pretty beat down, about now!~)

Come to think of it. Why do we need ANY more people? Only non-breeding couples should receive benefits!~)

notajayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago


Oddly enough I don't think we're too far apart on this argument.

I understand what you're saying about the differences between the bus example and the issue at hand (and I did say myself the comparison had limitations). But suppose we modify it further - suppose a particular bus route passes through a "white" neighborhood before passing through a "black" neighborhood. It may end up being completely full of white passengers and passing by several stops worth of black riders that get left behind, on a pretty regular basis. A systemic problem, but again, a circumstantial one. Replacing/disciplining/retraining the bus driver to eliminate suspected bias would accomplish nothing; the problem needs to be addressed through changing the route or adding more buses. And in this case it would be counterproductive to allege discrimination. If a rider complained on that basis, it would be looked into, and dismissed because the records showed the bus was indeed full. If a number of riders complained there weren't enough buses, then a real solution could be pursued.

And in a sense, this is closer to the issue at hand than you might think. What we're talking about is changing the status quo. For all intent and purposes, if the obstacle is cost, then we're talking about adding to those costs, and maybe the "bus" is already "full." Earlier you said "then the unbigoted way to deal with the problem is to eliminate the heterosexual marriage benefits." Applying that to the bus example, suppose there simply was no more money to add additional buses or routes - the "solution" would be to eliminate all bus service? Maybe fair, but not exactly productive.

"Perhaps I should clarify that when I say "people opposed to gay marriage", I mean specifically, people who want to ban all homosexuals from the right to receive marriage benefits, regardless of any other factors. THAT is what I believe to be bigoted, no matter what the reason for supporting the ban."

I don't have a problem with that. Why didn't you say that in the first place? ;)

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 2 months ago

"toefungus (Anonymous) says:Not a good idea. The costs would soar and benefit very few. The answer is not more handouts, but less."My employee pays my single insurance and I have the option to buy family health insurance at a group rate. This is not a handout! I earn it! Also, the more people you have in a group insurance pool the more the costs can be spread out. If you have a group that is pretty healthy, then the costs are lower.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 2 months ago

"Like I suggested, maybe the only reason was because they couldn't figure out a way to pay for the increased health insurance costs for federal employees."My husband is a federal employee. If we want family insurance, we pay extra for it. Yes, it is group rates, but the government does not subsidize it. I don't know too many employers who pay for family insurance. Most of them allow you to buy it at the group rate. And again, the larger and healthier the group, the lower the premiums.

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