(AP) — Health-care benefits would be offered to the domestic partners of
Indianapolis city workers under a proposal being pushed in the City-County
formally introduced to the council and assigned to a committee Monday
would offer insurance coverage to both same-sex and heterosexual unmarried
couples. A city consultant estimates fewer than 30 of nearly 7,500
eligible workers would apply for the coverage.
proposal was defeated in 2002, but supporters say they believe it will get
the votes this time to clear the council, where Democrats hold a 16-13
majority. Some council members, however, have concerns about the
additional cost to the city.
councilman Zach Adamson told WTHR-TV that while money "should be a
concern, we're talking about recruiting and retaining a quality workforce
that will cost one-half of one percent of all we spend on health care."
Controller Jeff Spalding estimated the additional benefits could add less
than $200,000 to the $58.2 million the city spends a year on health
for Republican Mayor Greg Ballard said the mayor was open to supporting
"He wants to
make sure that it's worded in a way that would prevent fraud and abuse and
wouldn't open the city to lawsuits," spokesman Marc Lotter told The
Indianapolis Star. "And, obviously, he wants take a look at the fiscal
Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay-rights group, estimates similar
domestic-partner benefits are provided by 24 state governments 150 to 200
municipalities — including Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.
the city of Bloomington and some state universities — including Indiana,
Purdue and Ball State — provide benefits for employees' same-sex partners.
Curt Smith of
the conservative Indiana Family Institute strongly opposes the
"It sends the
message that domestic partnerships are the same as marriage and that's not
true," Smith said.
councilman Aaron Freeman said he's worried about the additional cost at a
time when the city faces a shortfall in funding public safety departments.
million short," Freeman said. "I cannot justify spending dollars for new
programs when we don't have enough money to cover what we did this year,
sponsor of the proposal, said it's likely more county employees with
opposite-sex partners would take advantage of domestic partner benefits.
"We have to
make sure we're not pigeon-holing this issue as just a gay issue," he
said. "Heterosexual couples can take advantage of this, if they meet the