Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the wording of a petition that would toss out Ohio’s gay marriage ban and replace it a ‘freedom to marry’ constitutional amendment. DeWine found three problems with the wording. First, the summary was longer than the actual amendment. Second, the summary says political subdivisions would retain certain rights but the actual amendment doesn’t say this. And finally, the summary says portions of Title 31 would be retained but the amendment doesn’t reference any Title 31. Freedom to Marry Ohio is seeking to overturn a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage and civil unions and prohibits state and local governments from giving certain legal rights to unmarried couples. Voters approved the ban 62 percent to 38 percent. Freedom to Marry Ohio’s constitutional amendment would define marriage as between two consenting adults, regardless of gender. The proposed amendment also spells out that religious institutions are free to determine who they wish to marry and refuse to perform a marriage if they so choose. Once the group gets its summary language approved, it must collect more than 385,245 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot. Freedom to Marry Ohio spokesman Ian James said the group is already working to submit revised language to DeWine and is shooting to be on the November 2013 statewide ballot.
March 6, 2012Middletown City Council Meeting Council Member A.J. Smith – Request Cost Analysis of Providing Health Insurance and Other Benefits to Employee’s Domestic Partners
rngrmed At the last council meeting Mr. Smith brought up the subject of insurance for domestic partners. I do not feel now is the time to have this discussion since the State of Ohio has not passed the law for Gay Marriage. Many years ago in Ohio we had Common Law Marriage and it was a nightmare in the courts because it had just too many gray areas concerning the law and I’m afraid this would be the same problem for the city. I think we need to wait all let the state decide this issue before we address it at a local level.
MIDDLETOWN — A request by a Middletown councilman for the city to analyze the cost to provide health care benefits to employees in opposite- and same-sex domestic partnerships drew criticism last week. City Council narrowly OK’d staff by a 4-3 vote to proceed with the cost analysis, which was a request made by Councilman A.J. Smith. “I think this is a good potential driver for economic development,” said Smith, “and with some of the other things we do to try to attract and ... retain the best and the brightest employees.” While the exact number of employees who are in domestic partnerships will likely not be known, City Manager Judy Gilleland said there are 97 city employees who subscribe to the city’s “single” and “single plus children” health care plans. Smith said he doesn’t believe all potential subscribers to a possible domestic partnership plan would be eligible, as with the case of MiamiUniversity where domestic partners are only eligible if they do not have insurance at work or are unemployed. He also said some employees may just be single. Smith said he doesn’t believe the cost would add a significant amount to what the city already pays for health care, which is roughly $5 million. “I’ve seen local governments where the increase is less than one percent, and I think the city will be in the same area,” Smith said Wednesday. Lucas and Franklin counties and the city of Columbus offer domestic partner benefit plans, according to Equality Ohio, a Columbus-based group that advocates for the rights of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The cost to LucasCounty’s budget was 0.1 percent, and the effect it has had on FranklinCounty and Columbus’ budget is roughly an 0.8 percent increase to the health care budget, according to Equality Ohio. “If we are to be competitive ... we need to have policies that are conducive to our competition,” Smith said. Councilman Josh Laubach was one of the three council members to vote against the cost analysis proposal. “I can’t imagine why from an economic stand point we would want to do something like this,” Laubach said. “It’s going to increase costs; if you’re insuring more people it’s going to cost more money.” And he also disagreed that Middletown isn’t already getting “the best and the brightest” when jobs open. “I think there’s people lining up every time we have a position open, and we don’t have a problem getting people to want to come work here,” he said. Mayor Larry Mulligan agreed with Laubach that the city shouldn’t add to its expenditures. “I think the math is pretty easy. Once you increase your pool of covered insured bodies, it’s got potential to cost you more,” he said. “And to Mr. Laubach’s point, I don’t think we’re in an economic position to really support a whole lot of that.” “It would be a nice thing to be able to offer, but I don’t think we’re in the financial position to be able to do it,” the mayor added. Councilman Joe Mulligan voted with Laubach and the mayor against Smith’s motion. Gilleland said it would take staff five to 10 hours to perform the analysis.
This is completely liberal, Democratic posturing. I am disappointed in Picard, Jones, and Mort. I would expect this from Obama hack Smith. The city needs to be evaluating its policies and tactics to attract residents and companies, not employees. What a waste of time and effort. It just doesn't end with Smith.
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