Anderson to Okay Health Benefits for Domestic Partners

Anderson to Okay Health Benefits for Domestic Partners

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Sammy Linebaugh reporting Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson is set to sign an executive order offering benefits for non-married, domestic partners of city employees.

The signing ceremony is set for tomorrow.

Obviously this subject isn't as simple as signing a piece of paper. It's something local governments nationwide are looking at. The issue is whether unmarried partners, including same-sex partners, of city employees should have access to health benefits.

Mayor Rocky Anderson plans to sign an executive order tomorrow, Wednesday, granting benefits to domestic partners and their children.

He has provided a copy of the order to the city council and asked for input, but says regardless, he plans to sign the order.

Anderson also submitted documents to the council outlining his reasoning for the measure, which it is estimated will cost the city between 38- and 113-thousand dollars. That's if ten to 20 employees out of the city's 26-thousand employees apply for the benefits.

Mayor Rocky Anderson/Salt Lake City: "It's all about equality. It's about treating people regardless of sexual orientation decently and equally."

Anderson has been criticized for not pursuing a city ordinance, which would have required council approval.

A recent poll by Dan Jones and Associates for KSL-TV and the Deseret News shows 54 percent of Salt Lake City residents favor Anderson's plan to extend health benefits to domestic partners of city employees, while 42 percent opppose it.

Statewide, 64 percent of Utahns oppose the move. 31 percent are in favor.

The Salt Lake County council recently considered a similar benefits proposal that would have applied only to same-sex domestic partners, but it was defeated five to four.

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