Lexington, Ky., considers overriding mayor's veto

BY admin

November 20 2003 1:00 AM ET

The Lexington, Ky., city council voted Tuesday to consider overriding Mayor Teresa Isaac's veto of a resolution that would have kept her from extending health insurance coverage to city workers' domestic partners. The council voted to place the item on a future agenda, a first step toward an override.

On Friday, for the second time in four months, Isaac used her veto power in connection with the benefits plan. In a one-sentence document, she cited the city's 1999 Fairness Ordinance, which prohibits antigay discrimination in employment, as well as a Kentucky constitution section that forbids "absolute and arbitrary power."

Isaac has said the Fairness Ordinance requires her to treat all employees the same and that extending health insurance benefits to domestic partners--same-sex or opposite-sex--is necessary because spouses of married city employees receive such benefits. Those voting against domestic-partner benefits have raised issues of money and morality and complained about Isaac's handling of the issue.

The Tuesday vote was the latest move in a squabble between Isaac and the council that began in the spring, when she introduced the health plan change. That move upset council members, who said Isaac didn't inform them of her plans.

The council voted in June to put a three-month moratorium on offering the benefits, but Isaac vetoed that resolution in July. The council overrode that veto. The council voted November 6 to deny the benefits, and Isaac vetoed that decision eight days later. Nine votes are needed on the 15-member council to override a mayoral veto. The resolution to override Isaac's latest veto could receive final approval during a December 4 council meeting.

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