Omaha police officers make plea for domestic-partner benefits
Two police officers have pleaded with the Omaha city council to restore proposed limited benefits for officers' domestic partners that were recently cut from a contract under negotiation. "It is heartbreaking," said Officer Anna Doyle, who is raising an 11-month-old son with her domestic partner. "I'm willing to take the risks that go with this job--that is my choice. But I am not willing to let anyone tell me that my partner and my child are not worthy of the same benefits that protect my fellow officers' families."
Tim Andersen, the police union president, told the council Tuesday that the union decided to drop the proposed funeral and family-sick-leave benefits for same-sex domestic partners because of concerns about potential litigation. Some union members thought the benefits might also be discriminatory, Andersen said.
Sgt. Michele Bang lives with her female domestic partner and is a 10-year veteran of the force. She urged council members to restore the benefits for the qualified domestic partners of all police officers. "Search your heart for the truth," Bang said.
A vote on the contract by the council is scheduled for next week.
A state constitutional amendment approved by Nebraska voters in 2000 made same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships legally invalid in Nebraska. If such benefits were to be included in the Omaha police officers' proposed contract, they would be the state's first public employees to receive benefits recognizing same-sex domestic partnerships.