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Ala Rep DP Benefits Wasteful

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An Alabama state legislator wants to block the University of Alabama at Birmingham's plan to offer domestic-partner benefits, saying the university shouldn't "waste money by making a liberal or politically correct statement."

State representative DuWayne Bridges is seeking support among his fellow Republicans for a yet-to-be drafted bill that would ban the use of tax dollars for such benefits, The Birmingham News reports.

Last month the university announced that it would provide health insurance coverage to employees' domestic partners, both same-sex and opposite-sex, beginning January 1, and allowed them to begin signing up for the plan. UAB needs to offer the benefits to remain competitive for top talent, especially for its medical school, and "create a positive, supportive and diverse work environment in which faculty and staff can excel," spokeswoman Dale Turnbough said this week.

Another state university, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, offers domestic-partner benefits, but UAB's announcement drew attention because it is the first of the state's "big three" universities to extend domestic-partner coverage. Neither the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, nor Auburn University offers such benefits, although the former is considering doing so.

Bridges called domestic-partner benefits "a misuse of taxpayers' dollars" and said the plan violates the spirit of the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, passed in 2006 with 81% of the vote. Tim James, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, has expressed support for Bridges's proposal, contending domestic-partner benefits are a "tacit recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions." He issued a statement saying, "I will vigorously oppose this measure and will enforce the spirit of Alabama law defining marriage as a sacred union between a woman and a man."

Democratic state representative Patricia Todd, Alabama's first openly gay legislator, told the News that LGBT people "just want equality." She added, "Like it or not, Representative Bridges, the world is changing and people are accepting more diversity."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.