by German Lopez
Trend follows other cities, states, countries and a majority of Fortune 500 companies
Cincinnati inched closer to
equality after moving forward Monday with a measure that would allow city
employees in same-sex and other partnerships to receive health insurance
With a push by Chris Seelbach,
the first openly gay councilman in Cincinnati, the measure passed the finance
committee with the support of all council members except Charlie Winburn, who
The approval came after a city
report found that same-sex benefits could cost as much as $543,000 a year if 77
partners took advantage of the benefits.
The report suggested City Council
mimic a system already in place in Columbus, which requires partners to prove
financial interdependency and that they have been together for six months.
If the measure passes City
Council, Cincinnati would be more caught up with other cities, states,
countries and companies that already grant health benefits to same-sex
couples. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign estimated that 60 percent
of Fortune 500 companies offer health benefits to same-sex couples, including
Procter and Gamble and Fifth Third Bank.
Altogether, it seems like a small
step toward equality. What’s unfortunate is none of it would be required if
same-sex marriage was legal in Ohio. If it was,
same-sex couples could get marriage benefits, including health-care coverage.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday approved
the petition language for an amendment that would overturn Ohio’s 2004 ban on
gay marriage. The new amendment would define marriage as “a union of two
consenting adults, regardless of gender.”
The amendment now moves forward
to the Ohio Ballot Board. If approved, it will then require 385,253 signatures
from registered voters and, finally, voter approval.Ohio banned same-sex marriage in
2004 with a majority vote of 62 percent. But Ian James, co-founder of the
Freedom to Marry Coalition, told the Huffington Post that he is optimistic
things will be different this time, citing recent polls that show the nation is
moving toward support of gay marriage.