Columbus, Ohio, mayor Michael Coleman's administration has quietly arranged to make health insurance coverage available to the domestic partners of city employees--something that caused a stir of controversy six years ago. This time a city council vote wasn't required because the city doesn't pay anything.
Starting Friday the city will offer a new carrier for supplemental, voluntary insurance for any of its 8,000 employees who want health insurance for their unmarried partners--gay or straight. It's on top of what the city supplies, and the employee picks up all of the cost.
In 1998 the Columbus city council unanimously approved domestic-partner benefits, providing only two hours' notice before taking the vote. The council repealed its decision two months later, after opponents threatened a citizens' referendum.