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Columbus DP Benefits Pass Easily

Columbus DP Benefits Pass Easily

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Columbus, Ohio's capital and largest city, approved domestic-partner benefits for city employees Monday with little opposition, in sharp contrast to the controversy that surrounded a similar move 12 years ago -- even though one resident thinks the city council is doing the devil's work.

The council OK'd offering health insurance to the same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners of city workers, effective February 1, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The council had passed a similar measure in December 1998 but rescinded the benefits two months later after opponents gathered enough petition signatures to put the matter to a popular vote. Council members feared that if a vote took place and resulted in repeal of the benefits, they could not bring up the issue again without another citywide vote.

At Monday night's council meeting, only two citizens attended to comment on the benefits proposal, as opposed to seven who came to accept a citation for the championship season of the city's minor league baseball team, the Columbus Clippers. City health inspector Jim Hartman offered support for domestic-partner benefits, while local resident Shirley Cotter voiced opposition, saying the council should "make God smile, not make Satan smile."

The council went on to approve the benefits plan unanimously. Council member A. Troy Miller said Cotter's comment was the only negative one he'd heard since the proposal was announced last week, while another member, Andrew J. Ginther, said the council was "not only doing the right thing" but also putting the city in a better position to compete for employees.

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