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Wisconsin governor pushes benefits for unmarried couples

Wisconsin governor pushes benefits for unmarried couples

Four days after Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that sought to ban gay marriage in the state, it was revealed that his administration is pushing to provide health insurance for the live-in partners of state government workers, whether the couple is same-sex or opposite-sex. "This is an issue the governor wants to make sure is on the table, because it is the right thing to do," Karen Timberlake, the chief negotiator for Doyle in talks with state employee unions, told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnists Cary Spivak and Dan Bice. Timberlake told the newspaper the contract proposal was modeled after the city of Madison's policy. The proposal would require domestic partners to sign an affidavit attesting that they are in a committed relationship that is "both emotionally and financially interdependent...not just roommates," she said. She added that a number of large businesses already offer insurance benefits to domestic partners, as do 10 other states, and the cost of the change would be "very minimal" to the overall health insurance program. Doyle vetoed a bill Friday that would define marriage in Wisconsin as solely between one man and one woman, saying state law already clearly prohibits same-sex marriage and that the legislation was "mean-spirited."

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