Monday, July 30, 2012

Ballard Playing Games with Domestic Partnership Ordinance

What's wrong Mr. Mayor?  You chicken?
The Domestic Partnership Proposal 213 should already be a done deal for the City of Indianapolis and be an ordinance by now, but it's been Mayor Greg Ballard's Office that has been dragging its feet and kicking the can down the road.

Ballard, according to media reports, has concerns over the proposal believing that it will give straight couples in Indianapolis a reason not to marry.  Reports say (and he's not denying it) the Mayor is trying to strike out language that would make the proposal apply to opposite sex couples and make it only a same-sex couple ordinance if passed.  This would likely cause most of the Republicans and maybe a couple of Democrats supporting the measure currently to vote against the proposal.

So, that raises the question: how often do people get married for benefits only?  I'm sure it happens. I know there are definitely "marriages of convenience" out there. I really don't think that's germane to this ordinance, though. I don't think this will cause a significant change in the rate of people joining in holy matrimony. Pretty much, if you want to get married; you will get married. If not, you won't. Benefits aren't going to change that. This just opens another door for some couples that meet very specific requirements to get benefits from the City of Indianapolis. The financial benefits of marriage still outweigh any benefits this proposal would allow qualifying couples to receive from the city.

My sources say that Ballard is getting inundated with outside of Indiana e-mail messages from marriage equality opponents that have the complete wrong idea about the ordinance.  Indy Democrat sources say that the e-mails are often filled with inaccuracies and things that don't even apply to this proposal.  Apparently, the Mayor is having trouble standing up and saying those things to these groups.

The Domestic Partnership Benefits Proposal passed out of the Rules and Public Policy Committee and will likely be up in front of the full City-County Council for a vote on August 13.


Paul K. Ogden said...

If that's what Ballard is thinking of doing, I would wholeheartedly agree with him. The only reason for domestic partner benefits is that same sex couples can't legally get married. Until that changes, and it will, there is a need for domestic benefits for same sex couples.

We shouldn't be in the business of rewarding people who aren't willing to enter into the commitment of marriage but still want the benefits. Marriage has always been the dividing line on such benefits, and I agree with that.

I don't know if you can legally grant domestic benefits to same sex partners while denying them to heterosexual partners. It's a gray area.

I think you're reading the political tea leaves wrong though. For example, if same sex marriage were allowed, I doubt you could get more than a vote or two from the Republican side for domestic partner benefits. The whole reason you'll find Republicans voting for this is they feel like I do, that it's not fair to same sex couples who can't get married. If it weren't for that, I doubt this measure would have gone anyplace.

Anonymous said...

This is a misguided proposal from the beginning. Facing a $70 million budget deficit, Zach proposes spending more money for gay marriage benefits as current benefits are cut, even though state law clearly prohibits gay and plural marriages. Keep in mind the city was just bailed out for overly generous benefits it couldn't afford by the state.

Jon Easter said...

Just FYI, this is a BI PARTISAN proposal sponsored by Councillors Mansfield, Adamson, Barth, Hickman, Lutz and Hunter