Sunday, August 06, 2006

500,000 Reasons For Domestic Partner Benefits

The Courier-Journal keeps alive for now their drive to extend state university health benefits to include anyone who can lie on an affadavit.

Actually, they get closer to a strong case by finding a $500,000 a year rainmaker at the University of Wisconsin who took himself and his partner to another school because UW didn't do partner benefits either.

That got my attention.

My concern with extending domestic partner benefits is primarily that single state employees would then be able to sign a piece of paper and obtain coverage for a sick friend taxpayers would wind up paying for. The "step toward gay marriage" stuff doesn't concern me quite as much because private companies are already doing it. Still shouldn't be condoned by the state, but the bigger problem is with the money.

Nevertheless, since General Assembly Democrats will want to avoid another "marriage amendment" fiasco like 2004, legislation to ban this practice will sail through and be signed into law quickly in January.

I have an idea.

Looking at the case of the $500K a year man UW lost, why don't we allow any university employee who brings in grants every year of $500,000 or more to add one person to his or her health plan. Heck, if they bring in a million we might even let them have two. We won't bother with them promising that they love each other or live together or are having sex. If they bring in this much money, they get a freebie. Spare us the details.

The liberals on this will be somewhat appeased, since they make their case that this benefit is critical to getting and keeping valuable people. So the people who more than pull their weight financially can sign up a friend. Social conservatives will be appeased somewhat because the people involved don't pretend to be married to get benefits. If we keep it a purely financial transaction, we have more winners than losers.

This will just make the "homosexuality is a civil right" folks mad, but their alternative is to get nothing.