New report says state law allows local governments to offer benefits
CHARLOTTE — Almost a year after initial discussion of the issue, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners will place official discussion of domestic partner benefits on their Dec. 15 regular meeting agenda.
The board initially discussed the issue at a retreat in January, placing the item under consideration and instructing the county human resources department to research and analyze cost, legality and other issues.
A new report by professor Diane Juffras of the UNC School of Government says state “statutes allow local governments to buy insurance and other benefits for employees and dependents, as well as create policies to ‘foster the hiring and retention of a capable and diligent work force,’” according to The Charlotte Observer.
The county was waiting on the results of Juffras report before making any official decision on the matter.
Republican County Commissioner Bill James has opposed any move to extend domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners of county employees. He says the state’s crime against nature statute makes homosexual behavior and relationships illegal, pointing to the arrest of some 50 men over a three-year period in several public parks in Charlotte. He says local government would have to take a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to whether “committed couples” were engaging in what he says is illegal behavior and would be complicit in illegal behavior by offering benefits to same-sex couples.
“People always get into trouble when they spend time trying to skirt the law and Mecklenburg County is headed in that direction,” James wrote in an email on Dec. 4. “Marriage in NC is ‘one man-one woman’. Offering Domestic Partner insurance ignores and undermines the law while using the don’t ask-don’t tell approach that most homosexuals oppose at the Federal level.”
Mecklenburg commissioners approve DP benefits, Dec. 15
Advocates hopeful on Mecklenburg DP benefits, Dec. 14
DP benefits scheduled for Dec. 15 Mecklenburg commissioners meeting, Dec. 5
Q&A: Charlotte’s new mayor-elect on LGBT equality, Nov. 28
On LGBT equality, when will Charlotte get with the game?, Oct. 17
Meck. County on its way to offering DP benefits, Feb. 7
James uses anti-trans slur, voices ‘concern’ over Meck. domestic partners, Jan. 27
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