County commissioners Wednesday approved a new county health insurance plan that includes domestic partner benefit coverage.
Commissioner Jim Flory, who voted against the plan because of the extension, said there were many other relationships that weren’t covered under the plan, including grandparents taking care of grandchildren, a sibling caring for another sibling and a person caring for a best friend. Commissioner Mike Gaughan, who originally suggested the change, said the plan was necessary for equality.
“This is the one relationship that the state has precluded loved ones from accessing the equal rights,” Gaughan said.
A number of residents spoke in favor of the plan again at Wednesday’s meeting, while the Rev. Leo Barbee Jr. spoke against it.
“It is a moral decision, whether you like it or not. We’re saying that domestic partners are equal to families,” he said.
Commissioners Gaughan and Nancy Thellman voted in favor of the plan, which also extended coverage to employees’ dependents under the age of 26 and eliminated the lifetime benefit maximum.