Though I would rarely post a blog myself, some of the comments and emails Kentucky Equality Federation has received about the University of Kentucky's Domestic Partner Benefits is disturbing. Some Kentucky political blogs have also posted items that are untrue, irrational, and downright childish in the name of progress.
A good rule in both business and politics is to know what you are talking about before you speak. I just had a chance to read the University of Kentucky's Work-Life Committee's Report and associated links/references dated January 15, 2007.
First of all you must understand that the Work-Life Committee didn't throw this report together overnight; a lot of research, feedback, and studies from independent companies influenced their decision. In addition, the Staff Senate, Senate Council as well as the full University Senate each approved resolutions in support of offering benefits to both same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners.
These developments alone warrant someone taking the time to read the reports before arriving at a personal conclusion. I question the intelligence of any person who would condemn or otherwise attempt to stop something from happening prior to understanding the facts, as well as the substance of an issue.
Here are some interesting facts to keep in mind (taken from the Work-Life Committee's Report):
- Benefits (such as health insurance) account for a third of a University employees compensation package.
- Companies now employ a workforce where 49% of households are maintained by unmarried men or women, instead of the married-couple household model upon which benefits are historically based.
- More than half of the Fortune 500 companies provide domestic partner benefits to their employees.
- Domestic partner benefits have become commonplace not only nationally, but across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
- Potential funding for domestic partner healthcare benefits already exists in the University of Kentucky's budget.
- Opposite-sex domestic partner coverage is projected to be 1-2% while same-sex domestic partner coverage is projected at only 0.5%.
- People would have to sign affidavit's stating they have been in a relationship with their sole domestic-partner for at least six (6) months.
Projected Yearly Cost: $633,000.00
University General Fund: $253,000.00 (40%, already in the University's $68.2 million dollar healthcare budget)
Other Sources: $380,000.00 (60%, this comes from grants, contracts, Athletics, parking, and hospital revenues)
If the University of Kentucky believes they need to extend domestic-partner benefits to remain competitive and (yes, that's right, an additional bonus) it helps insure uninsured Kentuckians, what's wrong with it?
-Jordan Palmer, Kentucky Equality Federation President