The University of Louisville trustees voted 14-1 to cover domestic partners in its employee health plan, a decision rooted in attracting the best talent through respect, reports the Courier-Journal:
Engineering professor Gina Bertocci was lured to the University of Louisville two years ago with an endowed professorship and a pledge that officials would try to ensure she could add her domestic partner to her health insurance. …
“My decision to come here was largely based upon the fact that the university was looking to include domestic partner benefits and was going to have a very supportive stance from a diversity perspective,” said Bertocci, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh.
School officials said that was the reason for the decision.
“From an economic development position this does send to the rest of the country that this is an enlightened institution,” said trustee Bill Stone, a self-described conservative. “I also want to make it clear … this is not an endorsement of gay marriage or any of the other lightning issues. This is simply a recognition that people are people.
The U of L decision is causing the University of Kentucky to consider adding the same benefit, according to the paper. Meanwhile, crass opponents of gays are threatening legislation to thwart the health plan:
Among those opposing the move was Sen. Richard Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, who said U of L was “acting very irresponsibly” and said he would consider legislative action to combat the plan.
“I find this very repulsive,” Roeding said.
He said he didn’t agree that offering domestic partner benefits makes U of L more competitive.
“I don’t want to entice any of those people into our state. Those are the wrong kind of people,” Roeding said.
Dave Edmunds, a policy analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky, a conservative family advocacy group, said the decision is a rejection of traditional marriage. He said taxpayers should hold lawmakers accountable for funding U of L.
“The citizens demand accountability,” Edmunds said. “People will see this story in the news and respond according to their conscience.”
The conflict between the anti-gay Right and the need to attract and retain professionals to cities and colleges was described by Michelle Goldberg in Salon, as Ohio passed “the most strident anti-gay marriage amendment in the nation.”