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USU Faculty Senate Defers Action on Domestic Benefits

USU Faculty Senate Defers Action on Domestic Benefits



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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Members of the Utah State University Faculty Senate discussed the proposal to provide medical benefits to gay and unmarried domestic partners of university employees, and decided they needed more information.

They voted 29-18 Monday to refer the proposal back to the Faculty Senate's Budget and Faculty Welfare Committee, which is to put the information on a Web site.

The Senate did not set a specific date for further discussion or a vote on the issue.

The Senate initially took up the issue in March. The BFW committee gave a report to the Senate executive committee. The proposal was tabled, but has since been resurrected

"This issue has been before us for almost a year. Let's try to get it resolved," said Lynn Dudley. who teaches in the plants, soils and biometeorology department.

But John McLaughlin, an associate professor in English, said, "Is it a good idea to do this (proposal)? We can't really vote on that. We need to get a committee together to see what we can do legally and financially."

The issue was slowed last spring after USU general counsel Craig Simper said the voter-approved Amendment 3, which bans gay marriage, likely would bar same-sex benefits.

The amendment to the state's constitution says that marriage consist only of the legal union between a man and a woman, and no other domestic union may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equal legal effect.

Some faculty members said there has been new information since Simper's statement, including Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's signing an executive order extending health benefits to city employees' gay and unmarried partners. That action is under challenge.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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